Friday, July 01, 2011

Bring on the heat! How to stay safe this summer

Picnics, swimming and barbecues are a few of the activities summer brings. But it also brings heat. While a hot, sunny day may be welcome (with enough sunscreen, of course) extreme heat can be uncomfortable and sometimes deadly.

In fact, heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer, causing about 350 U.S. fatalities a year. Even though summer has just started, some parts of the country have already experienced record-setting hot days.

When temperatures hit their peak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests:

• taking care of seniors, infants and children, and people with chronic medical conditions who are more likely to get heat stress;

• staying in air-conditioned places as much as possible, such as shopping malls, public libraries and heat-relief shelters sponsored by your local public health agencies; and

• drinking cool, non-alcoholic beverages and increasing your fluid intake.

Before heading outside, always check the forecast. The National Weather Service issues advisories about excessive heat, including a heat outlook that warns of the potential for an excessive heat event in the next three to seven days. In fact, the forecast for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend is that many parts of the East and Midwest U.S. will have temperatures in the 90s.

APHA’s Get Ready campaign has a free fact sheet with even more tips on getting ready for heat waves in English or Spanish that you can read and share in your community.

Staying informed and using common sense can help you make the most of your summer. Better yet, take the time now to know the dangers of extreme heat and get ready for a heat emergency before the sizzle starts.

Graphic courtesy iStockphoto

1 comment:

Affiliated Physicians said...

As much as we may not want to stay later, hanging out a little longer at work can help keep you safe from the heat, especially if your home isn't air conditioned. Staying a little longer into the evening helps you beat the worst heat of the afternoon.