When the temperature hovers near 100 degrees Fahrenheit and excessive humidity leaves you sweltering and sticky, it's time to protect yourself and your loved ones from a heat illness.
Beating the heat
Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle. The temperature inside a car can become life-threatening very quickly.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids such as water and juice, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Don't take salt tablets unless recommended by a physician.
Avoid the outdoors during extreme heat and stay out of the sun. If you must work outside, slow down and take frequent breaks. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Postpone outdoor games and activities. This is definitely not the time to sweat it out.
Wear clothing that is light in color and loose-fitting.
Check on others
Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning. The elderly are more vulnerable to heat illness.
Check on your pets to make sure they aren't suffering from the heat. Make sure they have access to fresh drinking water.
Eat less frequently
Eat small meals and eat less often. Avoid protein foods, which increase your metabolism. Increased metabolic heat in your body can increase water loss.
Signs of heat illness
Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that typically occur in the legs or stomach caused by loss of fluids and electrolytes in high heat and humidity. Heat cramps are often an early sign that you're overexercising and having trouble with the heat.
Heat exhaustion occurs from loss of body fluids from strenuous exercise or physical labor in high heat and humidity. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.
What to do: Move to a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply a cool, wet cloths or towel to the skin. Take small, slow sips of cool water. If vomiting occurs, call 911 or a doctor immediately.
Also known as sunstroke. Heat stroke is a dangerous condition where a person's body temperature control stops working and the body is unable to cool itself.
Signs include hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high — as high as 105 degrees F. If the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, skin may be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry.
Source: American Red Cross; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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