Heat Wave: Stay Cool, Stay Safe, Stay Informed
With temperatures likely to set records this week and with oppressive humidity coming our way, it is vital to be smart and be safe. The greatest threat with extreme temperatures is to the very young, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. However, being active in hot and humid weather can also be dangerous to healthy individuals. The CDC has provided a comprehensive list of things you should do to protect yourself and others from 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
- Never leave infants or children in a parked car. Nor should pets be left in parked cars—they can suffer heat-related illness too.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing
- Take cool showers or baths
- Check on those most at-risk (the elderly, those with medical conditions, those who are ill, and those who live alone) twice a day
- 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. Some amount of sports drink (e.g., Gatorade®) consumption can be helpful to replace electrolytes, particularly salt, but most of your consumption should be from water.
- Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar
- Remind others to drink enough water
- Check local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips. The City of Boston has a website page with important phone numbers and a listing of pools and cooling centers, as does Mass 2-1-1 for areas outside Boston. You can also call 211 for additional information.
- Sign up for free weather alerts to your phone or email
- Learn the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and what you should do. Problems can begin with muscle cramps, but can escalate to heat exhaustion. If you can’t cool off on your own after 30 minutes in a cool environment, or if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, or cannot stop vomiting, call your doctor’s office immediately.
- Heat Stroke is a very dangerous condition that requires immediate medical attention. If someone is exhibiting any of the symptoms of heat stroke, you should immediately call 911.
For more information, visit http://blog.harvardvanguard.org/2011/07/heat-wave-be-smart-be-safe/