How To Keep Cool During A Heat Wave
Exposure to high temperatures also raises the potential for health issues associated with the heat. According to the CDC, an average of 702 heat-related deaths occur in the United States each year. As this week’s heat wave comes just before the official start of summer, here are few ideas to stay safe and cool as temperatures rise.
Keeping cool is key to staying healthy during a heat wave. Staying indoors can keep your body cool and prevent heat-related illness.It’s also key to stay out of the sun during heat waves, says Cedric Dark, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
“If you are able to, stay out of heat, especially during the hottest times of the day, usually 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” he says, emphasizing the importance of preventing sickness during heat waves.
Scheduling outdoor activities and errands for the morning or evening when temperatures are less harsh can help prevent you from getting sick in the heat. If you are outside, it can also be helpful to wear lightweight clothing so that you don’t overheat.
In dangerously hot weather, recognizing the signs of heat-related sickness is essential. Signs include weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, excessive sweating, and fainting. Dark describes heat-related sickness as a “spectrum,” ranging from mild heat rashes to fatal heat stroke. In cases of heat sickness, “the best thing to do is to stop what you are doing, rest, get in shade or indoors,” he advises.
Staying hydrated is also crucial for staying healthy in hot weather. It’s beneficial to drink water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty, according to the CDC. If you are exercising or working outside during a heat wave, drinking sports drinks can also help replace the salts and electrolytes lost from sweating. Avoiding drinks containing caffeine, sugar, or alcohol – as these can all contribute to dehydration in hot weather – is also paramount.
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