With temperatures soaring this week, here are some tips to stay cool and safe:
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, at least one glass every hour. Don’t wait for thirst to set in. You can buy bottled water or bring it with you from home (it’s best to keep it in a cooler).
- Keep cool indoors. Use air conditioning, if possible. Close windows and shades on sunny days; turn off electric lights if you’re not using them; and wear loose-fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible — such as long pants and shirts with sleeves that cover your arms and legs.
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and protective clothing such as a hat with a wide brim to help protect your face, neck and ears from the sun’s rays. Be sure to put on enough sunscreen before heading outdoors so that it doesn’t wear off while playing outside. Also remember that reflective surfaces like sand, concrete, asphalt and water can intensify the sun’s heat so use caution when going out during midday hours when temperatures are highest. And be sure to reapply sunscreen during the day.
- Avoid alcohol consumption since it causes dehydration and impairs judgment leading to riskier behavior such as swimming in open water while intoxicated or using drugs while partying outdoors at night when temperatures drop significantly.
- Move around frequently; rest in the shade when possible; drink plenty of fluids; avoid strenuous activities during peak heating hours.
- Check on older adults and children. If you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke, get him or her to a shady place immediately, remove as much clothing as possible and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Call 911 if necessary.
- Keep an eye on your pets. Animals are less likely than people to recognize the need for shade, water and frequent rest breaks during periods of high heat. Pet owners should pay special attention when exercising their pets outdoors in hot weather and make sure that pets have access to shade at all times when left unattended in vehicles — even if only briefly.