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Stay Safe in the Summer Heat!

As the temperatures rise this summer, it’s important to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of extreme heat. Extreme heat can lead to serious health issues, but with a few simple precautions, you can stay safe and healthy. Here’s what you need to know.
 

Understanding Extreme Heat

Extreme heat occurs when temperatures are much hotter than average for your location. High humidity can make it feel even hotter, making it difficult for your body to cool down. This can lead to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.


Who Is at Risk?

Some groups and conditions make you more likely to get heat-related illnesses. Knowing these risks can help you take precautions, especially when it's hot outside.


Groups at Higher Risk:

  • Older adults

  • Young children

  • People with chronic illnesses

  • Individuals on certain medications

  • Outdoor workers and athletes


Factors Increasing Vulnerability:

Things like high humidity, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, and sunburn increase your risk to heat-related illnesses. While they don't guarantee heat-related illness, these factors mean you should take extra care when it's hot.



Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses

It’s very important to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses early.


Heat Exhaustion Symptoms

Heat exhaustion is a common heat-related illness that can occur when the body becomes overheated. Recognizing the early signs can prevent it from escalating into a more serious condition. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:


  • Heavy sweating

  • Weakness or fatigue

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Cool, moist skin


If you're experiencing these symptoms, first move to a cooler area. Loosen tight clothing and cool yourself down by applying wet cloths or taking a cool bath. Sip on water to stay hydrated. It's important to seek medical help immediately if you're vomiting, if your symptoms worsen, or if they persist for more than an hour.


Heat Stroke Symptoms

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It occurs when the body can't regulate body temperature, and it can be life-threatening. Symptoms of heat stroke include:


  • High body temperature: A body temperature of 103°F (39.4°C) or higher is a key indicator of heat stroke.

  • Hot, dry skin

  • Rapid pulse

  • Confusion or loss of consciousness


If you suspect heat stroke, call 911 immediately because it's a medical emergency. Move the person to a cooler area and help lower their temperature by using cool cloths or a cool bath. Do not give them anything to drink until medical help arrives to avoid worsening the condition.


 

Tips to Stay Cool and Safe


  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol as they can dehydrate you.

  • Stay Cool Indoors: Use air conditioning if possible. If you don’t have AC, go to public places like libraries or shopping malls.

  • Limit Outdoor Activities: Try to stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). If you need to be outside, take frequent breaks in the shade.

  • Wear Light Clothing: Dress in lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothes to help your body stay cool.

  • Check on Others: Keep an eye on those at higher risk, especially older neighbors or relatives.

         

By following these tips, you can enjoy the summer while staying safe and healthy. For more detailed information, visit the CDC’s Extreme Heat page. Stay cool and take care!


 

If you have conditions that increase your risk for heat-related illness, we can provide personalized advice on staying safe this summer! To schedule an appointment with an Amoskeag Health provider, please call 603-626-9500.

 

 

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