Health and Family Services Cabinet
Department for Public Health Issues Safety Guidelines for Warm Temperatures
With the summer heat predicted to peak this week, issues like overexertion, heat stroke and dehydration have become important public health concerns.
“Summer weather is inviting and encourages many of us to spend more time outdoors, but the rising temperatures also present serious health concerns,” said Department for Public Health Commissioner William Hacker, M.D. “Everyone should follow simple precautions that keep us safe from heat-related illness and injury.”
According to DPH, following these precautions can make the difference between just being hot or being seriously ill:
− Stay cool indoors. The most efficient way to beat the heat is to stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have an air conditioner, consider visiting a mall or public library.
− Carefully schedule outdoor activities. If you must be out in the heat, try to plan your activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening. Rest periodically so your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover.
− Drink plenty of fluids. Increase your normal fluid intake regardless of your activity level. You will need to drink more fluids than your thirst level indicates. This is especially true for people age 65 or older who often have a decreased ability to respond to external temperature changes. In addition, avoid drinking beverages containing alcohol because they will actually cause you to lose more fluid.
− Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat that will provide shade and keep the head cool. Sunscreen should be SPF 15 or greater and applied 30 minutes before going out into the sun.
− Use a buddy system. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness.
− Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include infants and children up to 4 years old, people 65 or older, people who are overweight, people who overexert during work or exercise, and people who are ill or on certain medications for blood pressure or diuretics.
“We also cannot stress enough the dangers of extremely hot cars and not to leave children or pets in vehicles during these heat waves,” said Hacker. “Also, don’t forget to give your pet plenty of water, shade and a place to stay cool.”