Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your action level. Don't wait until you’re thirsty to drink
  • Don’t drink liquids that include alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay inside and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health section to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the high temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much improved way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked automobile.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
  1. Infants and young kids
  2. People aged 65 or older
  3. People who have a mind illness
  4. Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and directly watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more regular watching.

If you must be out in the heat:
  • Limit your outdoor action to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on work out. If you must work out, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect manually from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.
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