Whenever the temperature outside is hot, people are at risk for heat-related conditions and injuries. Heat stroke is a big concern, especially for the elderly or people without air conditioning. Anyone can get heat stroke, though, so it’s important to know how to prevent it. Here are some tips that everyone can use to stay safer in the heat and avoid heat stroke.
Drink Plenty of Water
In the heat, your body needs significantly more water than normal. Try to drink as much water as you can, even when you’re not particularly thirsty. Cool water is best, because it helps cool your internal body temperature, but any water is okay. Sports drinks containing electrolytes are acceptable, but try to stick to water the majority of the time. Avoid soda and caffeine.
Limit Your Movements
Moving around in the heat makes you tired, hot, and in need of water. When it’s very hot, try to limit your movements. You don’t have to sit on the couch and do nothing, but avoid things like exercising, taking unnecessary walks, or performing nonessential tasks at home. Limit your movements so that you can conserve your energy and avoid heat stroke.
Go Out at Dawn and Dusk
It’s best to avoid going outside in the extreme heat, especially if your alternative is to remain in an air-conditioned building, which is the best place for everyone to be. Try to run essential errands, go grocery shopping, etc. as early or as late as possible. It’s coolest outside before and slightly after the sun rises, and after the sun sets. Try to wait until those times to go out.
Get Your Body Wet
Water is life, especially in the heat. You can help prevent heat stroke by getting your body wet often. Getting wet, such as taking a shower or a bath, swimming, etc., will help cool down your body temperature. It also feels great. If it’s difficult for you to stay cool, try to use water to help. Even just wet washcloths or wetting your face or hair can make a big difference.
Stay Out of the Heat
This is so important that it’s worth mentioning again: stay out of the heat! Putting yourself outside in the sun or in the heat is putting yourself at greater risk for heat stroke. Stay inside, in the shade, and in the air-conditioning. If you don’t have air-conditioning at home, try to go somewhere that does have it, like a friend’s house or the local library. If you have to stay at home, open all the windows and use fans to help move the air.
Watch for the Signs
If you know the signs of heat stroke, you can get help before it gets life-threatening. Symptoms include dizziness and difficulty breathing, and you will stop sweating and your skin will turn red. If this happens, get out of the heat, stop moving, and get cool as soon as possible. Seek medical attention if symptoms do not improve or worsen.