Keep an eye out for weather alerts near you—if the weather channel or an alarm runs across the TV, take extra steps to prepare for the extreme heat coming to your area. Much of it has to do with your home:
When the weather gets hot, sometimes a few simplified guidelines are the best option for quick reference.
DON’T Rely on a fan—it doesn’t cool down your body temperature
DON’T leave people or pets in a car on a warm or hot day–even if the windows are cracked (find a way to remind yourself by putting one of your shoes in the backseat when you get in the car, so you have to look in the back seat to get your other shoe when you get out.
DON’T drink alcohol and sugary, dehydrating drinks. Note: Extremely cold drinks can cause stomach cramps.
DON’T overexert yourself outside. Work out inside or go for a less strenuous activity, such as walking, and go in the early morning while it’s a little cooler outside.
It’s important to stay aware of your body during times of extreme heat. Sometimes our bodies cannot keep up with the extreme heat, and it isn’t able to cool itself by sweating, which is its normal method of keeping the body cool. When the body can’t cool itself, the body temperature rises, which can lead to heat-related illnesses.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. If they’re addressed quickly, they won’t become a big issue. It is most vital to keep tabs on seniors, infants and young children (under the age of 4), and people who are overweight or on specific medication, as they are at the greatest risk.
Heat stroke: above 103F temperature
If you have any of the above symptoms, go to a cooler location, remove any excess clothing, and take small sips of cool water or a sports drink.
In extreme heat events, it’s important to take extra good care of yourself and check-in with those around you. Check on elderly neighbors and relatives, and keep a careful eye on infants and younger children. Establish a buddy system, and know who you’ll be in contact with during the extreme heat period.
Additionally, use your best common sense. Schedule outdoor activities carefully. Keep an eye on the weather and temperature. Aim for early morning or later evening for any outdoor activities. Mid-day heat is the hottest when the sun is at its zenith. Don’t overdo it, and be sure to also keep your pets well hydrated. Keep their water in a shady, cool area (and consider swapping out their metal bowl for one that’s less heat-conductive.
If symptoms of heat-related illness last more than an hour, you should call your healthcare provider.
Medical conditions become a little more complicated during extreme heat events. If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, don’t take salt tablets or drink a sports beverage without consulting your provider.
Bottom line: Use your common sense, stay hydrated and informed, and have a plan.