The heat of summer is on! Most people love being outside and enjoying time in the sun. But during extremely hot and humid weather, your body has more trouble cooling itself. And when your body heats up too rapidly or when you lose all your fluids through dehydration or sweating – you could experience a heat-related illness. Knowing the symptoms of excessive heat exposure can help keep you and your loved ones safe during these sweltering days of summer.
Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat StrokeThe symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be easily confused. But left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to the more serious of the two conditions – heat stroke. When the body’s temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, your heart, brain, kidneys and muscles can be come damaged. It’s the most severe heat-related illness and can lead to death without emergency intervention.
If you suspect someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, get the person out of the sun immediately and into a cool, environment. Turn on a cold shower or apply cool compresses; spray them with a water hose if you can’t get inside quickly. Have them sip water cool water and avoid physical activity for the rest of the day.
And if symptoms continue or get worse, don’t wait. Get them to the emergency room immediately!
Tops Tips for Staying Safe in the Heat1. Water, water, water! Staying hydrated is essential to keeping heat exhaustion or heat stroke at bay. Sip on eight or more 8-ounce glasses of water or fruit juice every day. It’s also good to avoid caffeine and alcohol because these beverages can lead to dehydration quickly. Most importantly, don’t wait to drink until you’re thirsty!
2. Rethink outdoor exercise. If you’re going to run, walk, or bike when temperatures spike, be sure to schedule time for fitness early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun’s not as hot. Check the weather forecast. If there’s a heat advisory for that day it’s best to move exercise indoors.
3. Stay cool at home. Check your air conditioning to make sure it’s working properly. Installing weather stripping around windows and doors helps keep cool air inside and hot air out. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, head to a mall, community center, movie theater or a friend or relatives home during the hottest part of the day.
4. Wear light, loose clothing. Light clothing made of natural fibers (like cotton) help keep you cool in the heat. Stay away from polyester blends in dark colors that attract the sun’s rays.
5. Know the signs of heat stroke. High body temperature, a flushed face, headache, nausea, rapid pulse, dizziness and confusion are all hallmarks of heat stroke. If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or someone else, take immediate action!
What about Pets?The heat of summer can be dangerous for pets, too. These simple tips can help keep your pets safe:
• Never leave your pet in a parked car – not even for a minute!
• Limit exercise on hot days, or choose to head outdoors in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat of the sun.
• Provide shade and lots of cold water. Coverage from a tree or tarp is better than a doghouse - it can make the heat worse!
If your animals get overheated, they can get heatstroke just like people can. Some of the signs include heavy panting, glazed yes, rapid heartbeat, excessive theirs, problems breathing, dizziness, profuse salivation, vomiting and a deep red or purple tongue. Animals that are very old, very young, overweight or not conditioned for exercise are particularly susceptible to heat stroke. If you see these any of these signs, move your pet indoors quickly, apply ice packs to their head, neck and chest, and let them drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Take them to the veterinarian immediately.