Heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, happen when the body is not able to properly cool itself. While the body normally cools itself by sweating, during extreme heat, this might not be enough. In these cases, a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down. This can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs. Individuals who are particularly at risk include infants and young children, people aged 65 or older, people who have a mental illness, and those who are physically ill – especially with heart disease or high blood pressure. As a reminder, tips to avoid heat-related illnesses include:
- Stay Hydrated – Avoid very cold drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Stay Cool Indoors – Use fans and air conditioning. Take cool showers/baths.
- Wear Light Clothes
- Schedule Outdoor Activities – Avoid the hottest part of the day. Hydrate and take breaks in shady places often. Make sure you wear sunscreen (with “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).
- Pace Yourself – Initially start slow with outdoor activities and recognize when you are reaching your limit (especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint).
- Use the Buddy System and Monitor those at Higher Risk
- Never Leave Anyone or a Pet in a Vehicle Unattended