The mercury’s rising and with it so are the dangers to you and your family. Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses.
To avoid heat-related illnesses and death follow these heat safety tips:
- Slow down: reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
- Dress for summer: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing to reflect heat.
- Eat light: Choose easy-to-digest foods such as fruit or salads. If you pack food, put it in a cooler or carry an ice pack. Don’t leave it sitting in the sun. Meats and dairy products can spoil quickly in hot weather.
- Drink plenty of water (not very cold: Focus on non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you on a fluid restrictive diet or have a problem with fluid retention, consult a physician before increasing the consumption of fluids.
- Use air conditioners: Spend time in air-conditioned locations such as malls and libraries if your home isn’t air-conditioned.
- Use portable electric fans: Fans exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air. Do not direct the flow of portable electric fans toward yourself when the room temperature is hotter than 90°F. The dry blowing air will dehydrate you faster, endangering your health.
- Minimize direct exposure to the sun. Sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
- Take a cool bath or shower.
- Do not take salt tablets: Only take salt tablets if recommended by a physician.
- Be aware of infants, older, sick, or frail people, and pets. Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Never leave children, disabled adults or pets in a car. It is never safe to leave a toddler, disabled person or pet locked in a car, even in the winter. If you have a toddler in your household, lock your cars, even in your own driveway. Kids play in cars and can get locked in. Already, 9 toddlers have died in hot cars in 2019. Cars can heat up quickly when left in the sun. Children locked in cars have died in December and in 70-degree weather, even with a window left open a little. Find out more.
- Protect your electronics: Don’t leave cell phones and GPS units sitting in hot cars.
For more heat health tips, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Download the free OSHA Heat Safety App