What you can do:
• Check on elderly family members and neighbors to make sure they have a cool place to go if they have no air conditioning.
• During extreme temperatures, fans by themselves are not enough to prevent heat related illnesses. Cold baths or showers can help cool you down. Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages and increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level.
• Never leave children or pets in cars. Temperatures inside a car can reach more than 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.
Here are additional steps you can take to protect yourself against heat-related illnesses:
• Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Take a cool shower or a bath. Consider a trip to the mall or a local library or visit a friend with air conditioning. Spending at least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly reduces the number of heat-related illnesses. When temperatures reach the upper 90s or above, a fan may not prevent heat-related illness.
• Drink plenty of fluids (2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour.) To replace salt and minerals lost from sweating, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or when you have to work outside. However, talk to your doctor first if you’re on a fluid-restricted diet or medications, or on a low-salt diet.
• Avoid sunburn and wear light clothing. Sunburn limits your body’s ability to keep itself cool and causes loss of body fluids. Use sunscreen with a higher SPF. Lighter-weight clothing that is loose fitting and light colored is more comfortable during extreme temperatures. Use a hat to keep the head cool.
• Give your body a break as the heat wave can be stressful on your body. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
• Use the “buddy system” if you’re working outside. If you’re working outside and suffer a heat-related illness, you could become confused or could lose consciousness. Therefore, make sure someone else knows of your plans.