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July 13, 2022 Health & Wellness

Tips For How to Keep Cool In Hot Weather

Adapted from an article by the GWAAR Legal Services Team

Summer is here, and that means hot weather is on the way. Extreme heat can be dangerous for everyone, but it can be especially bad for older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. Our bodies must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature in extreme heat, and heat-related illnesses can develop quickly. Learn how to stay cool and safe in hot weather.

Your body’s ability to cool off during extremely hot weather can be affected by many factors. When the humidity is high, sweat does not evaporate as quickly. In addition, age, dehydration, prescription drug use, alcohol use, sunburn, obesity, heart disease, and poor circulation can all affect how quickly you can cool off in hot weather. People who are 65 and older, children younger than two, and people with chronic medical conditions are at highest risk of heat-related illness. However, anyone can develop heat-related illness from participating in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.

Everyone should take the following steps to prevent heat-related illness or death:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk of heat-related illness by using air conditioning in vehicles and spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned. Contact your local health department to learn whether there is an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
  • Don’t rely on a fan as your only method of cooling off.
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook, because it will make you and your home hotter.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars.
  • Check on friends and neighbors and ask others to do the same for you.
  • Limit your outdoor activity, especially in the middle of the day when the sun is hottest.
  • If you play a sport that practices in hot weather, look out for your teammates. Schedule practices earlier or later in the day when the temperature is cooler.
  • Start outdoor activities slowly and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Wear sunscreen and reapply it as indicated on the package.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Seek medical attention right away if you or someone around you has symptoms of heat-related illness, like dizziness; nausea; confusion; high body temperature (over 103oF); hot, red, dry, or damp skin; fast, strong pulse, or losing consciousness (passing out).