12 Tips to Stay Safe in a Heat Wave

We’re currently experiencing heat indexes of over 100 degrees.  Here are 12 tips to keep you and your family navigate safely in extremely hot weather.

  •  Stay hydrated.  Keep water with you when you are outside.  If you feel nauseas, fatigued, or have a headache you may need to replace electrolytes.  You can drink sports drinks, but add a little sodium, or make a homemade formula of 1 liter water, 4Tablespoons honey, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon baking soda.

  • Avoid alcohol, sugary sodas, and caffeinated beverages, including iced tea, coffee, and sodas, as they are dehydrating.

  • Wear light-colored, light weight, loose fitting clothing and a lightweight hat.

  • Avoid strenuous exercise or work in the heat of the day (10 AM – 4PM).

  • Limit the time spent in full sun.

  • Seek air conditioning if you don’t have it at home.

  • If you feel you are becoming overheated, apply cool, wet washcloths to your neck and wrists or take a cool bath or shower.  If you are going to be outdoors, keep a spray or mist bottle with you to help keep cool.

  • Eat small meals that include foods with higher water content (fruits and vegetables.

  • If you are using a mask, wear one that is made of cotton, which allows for more airflow than polyester.  Remove your mask if you have trouble breathing or feel faint.

  • Never leave children or pets alone inside a vehicle.  Keep pets inside or provide cool, shady places outdoors and make sure there is plenty of clean water available.

  • Watch for signs of dehydration:  dry mouth, bad breath, dark urine, or skin that has lost elasticity.  You can check you skin by pinching the back of your hand and holding it for a few seconds.  If your body is dehydrated, the little “tent” that forms takes more than 5 seconds to go back to normal, you are dehydrated.

  • Watch for the warning signs of heat induced illness:

Heat Cramps:  muscle pain or spasms in the stomach, arms or legs

Heat Exhaustion:   heavy sweating, paleness, tiredness or weakness, muscle cramps, fast or weak pulse, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea or vomiting

Heat Stroke:  Oral temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, red hot skin without sweat, rapid, strong pulse, dizziness, confusion or unconsciousness

If you experience any of these, get out of the heat and cool down, removing unnecessary clothing and applying wet washcloths to forehead and wrists.  For heat stroke, call 911 or get to the hospital immediately and do not drink anything. For heat exhaustion or heat cramps, drink an electrolyte solution or water.  Seek medical care if symptoms last over an hour or worsen.

Follow these tips to keep your family safe and healthy during these hot summer days until cooler weather returns!

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