Summer Weather Safety and Survival Tips
You can help yourself and others avoid experiencing heat disorders by following these safety rules:
- Avoid the Heat. Stay out of the heat and indoors as much as possible. Spend time in an air conditioned space. Only two hours a day in an air-conditioned space can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness. Shopping malls offer relief if your home is not air-conditioned. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Remember, electric fans do not cool, they just blow hot air around.
- Dress for the Heat. Wear loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Lightweight, lightcolored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin's ability to cool itself. Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
- Drink for the Heat. Drink plenty of water and natural juices, even if you don't feel thirsty. Even under moderately strenuous outdoor activity, the rate your body can absorb fluids is less than the rate it loses water due to perspiration. However, if you have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluidrestrictive diets; or have a problem with fluid retention you should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
- Do not drink in the Heat. Avoid alcoholic beverages and beverages with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and cola. Alcohol and caffeine constrict blood vessels near the skin reducing the amount of heat the body can release. Although beer and alcohol beverages appear to satisfy thirst, they actually cause further body dehydration.
- Eat for the Heat. Eat small meals more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein because they increase metabolic heat. Avoid using salt tablets, unless directed to do so by a physician.
- Living in the Heat. Slow down. Reduce, eliminate, or reschedule strenuous activities such as running, biking and lawn care work when it heats up. The best times for such activities are during early morning and late evening hours. Take cool baths or showers and use cool, wet towels.
- Learn the symptoms of heat disorders and know how to give first aid.