Tips to Protect Yourself When It's Really Hot
We're lucky that air conditioning, which offers the best protection against heat, is available to most people. If your home doesn't have air conditioning, you'll want to spend the hottest hours of the day in a public building that has air conditioning. Maybe there's a cooling center near your home or visit the library or a local mall. Unfortunately people sometimes wait too late to buy an air conditioner and they're gone so put a reminder on your calendar to get one next year. Tips for staying safe when it's too hot out for you, your family, and your pets:
- Drink lots of fluids regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. You need at least 2 to 4 glasses of cool fluids every hour when exercising and liquids with alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar aren't good.
- Replace salt and minerals that your body loses with heavy sweating. Sports beverages are a good source of needed minerals.
- Wear clothing that helps sweat evaporate. At home, wear as little clothing as possible and outside, wear clothes that are loose fitting, lightweight and light colored.
- Protect yourself from the sun with a wide brim hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Use SPF 15 or higher and products that say broad spectrum or UVA/UVB on their labels.
- Schedule outdoor activities during early morning or evening, and other activities at locations that offer shade and a supply of water.
- Use a buddy system when doing strenuous activities outdoors. Set up a system to check on seniors and other high risk individuals at least twice a day to make sure they're okay.
- NEVER leave children or pets in the car as temperatures can build up very quickly.
- Make sure pets have enough shade and water when you have to leave them outdoors, or consider installing a pet door , so your pet can come and go as it pleases. Be kind to birds and wild animals by keeping a supply of water filled for them.
- Get medical attention when someone isn't feeling well. Extreme body temperatures can cause a number of heat related illnesses including heat exhaustion, heat cramps or heat stroke. Don't take a chance!
- Water your lawn and shrubs while it's dark so the water gets absorbed into the ground with minimal evaporation.
- Water around your foundation 1 to 2 times a week (at night) if your sprinkler system isn't covering this ground. Use a soaker hose where you don't have sprinklers, placing them 18 inches from the house. By keeping the soil moist you will avoid damage to the foundation and subsequent repairs.
- Make sure your attic ventilation is working or you'll be paying higher air conditioning bills. Soffit vents can get clogged and prevent intake air from getting into your attic, reducing the effectiveness of roof vents.