How to prepare for extreme heat
- Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level.
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar. They can cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, they can cause stomach cramps.
- Stay indoors, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library – even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler.
- Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90’s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
- Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
Check regularly on:
- Infants and young children
- People aged 65 or older
- People who have a mental illness
- Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
- Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness. Some people are at greater risk than others.
- Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children need much more frequent watching.
If you must be out in the heat:
- Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
- Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
- Try to rest often in shady areas.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. The most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their label.