Summer is officially in season.
And with temperatures on the rise across the U.S., now is a good time to prepare yourself for keeping cool over the next few months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to prepare for extreme heat this summer by staying cool, hydrated, and informed.
“No one should die from a heat wave, but every year on average, extreme heat causes 658 deaths in the United States—more than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and lightning combined,” said Robin Ikeda, MD, MPH, acting director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “Taking common sense steps in extreme temperatures can prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths.”
Extreme heat can lead to very high body temperatures, brain and organ damage, and even death. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and cool themselves properly. Extreme heat affects everyone, but the elderly, children, the poor or homeless, persons who work or exercise outdoors, and those with chronic medical conditions are most at risk.
Are You At Risk for Extreme Heat?
Take a look at the map below to see the areas of the U.S. most affected by extreme heat
The CDC has put together a list of tips and best practices when it comes to protecting yourself during hot summer days:
Keep your body temperature cool to avoid heat-related illness.
Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.
Find an air-conditioned shelter.
Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
Avoid direct sunlight.
Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
Take cool showers or baths.
Check on those most at-risk twice a day.
Because your body loses fluids through sweat, you can become dehydrated during times of extreme heat.
Drink more water than usual.
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
Remind others to drink enough water.
Stay updated on local weather forecasts so you can plan activities safely when it’s hot outside.
Check local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.
Learn the symptoms of heat illness.
Here's a graphic from the National Weather Service on the heat index and what it means.
The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.
Here is a list of Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness from the CDC, and what to do if you or somebody you know is stricken by heat-related illness.
Cold, pale, and clammy skin
Fast, weak pulse
Nausea or vomiting
What You Should Do:
Move to a cooler location.
Lie down and loosen your clothing.
Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.
High body temperature (above 103°F)*
Hot, red, dry or moist skin
Rapid and strong pulse
What You Should Do:
Call 911 immediately — this is a medical emergency.
Move the person to a cooler environment.
Reduce the person's body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath.
Do NOT give fluids.
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