7 Secrets to Staying Healthy in Extreme Heat

July 19th, 2019

Think it’s hot now? Just wait. High temperatures will be in the 90s in our region throughout the weekend. And that’s not all. According to the National Weather Service in Philadelphia, the heat index (temperature plus high humidity) will reach between 107-112 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday afternoon, and between 101-106 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday afternoon.

Extreme heat brings potentially deadly consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 people die from extreme heat every year. That’s why we’re asking everyone in our community to take precautions this weekend and stay safe from the heat.

Adults age 65 and over, children under age 2 and people with chronic health conditions or behavioral illnesses may be especially vulnerable to the effects of high heat and humidity.

Follow these 7 steps to protect your health:

  1. Schedule your day. If you must do any strenuous activities (such as outdoor exercise or yardwork), schedule them for early morning or late evening, and take frequent breaks inside. Avoid the time from mid-afternoon to early evening. That’s when the temperatures and humidity are the highest.
  2. Seek air conditioning. When it’s this hot, a fan won’t cut it. Use your air conditioner. If you don’t have one at your home, spend time at a place that does, such as a local shopping center, library or movie theater. Or take a drive with the A/C on in your car. If your neighbor doesn’t have A/C and you do, invite them over to your place during the midday heat.
  3. Watch what you wear. No matter your age, choose light-colored, loose-fitting and lightweight clothing.
  4. Check on your neighbors. If your loved ones are age 65 or over, or if you have relatives in that age range, check in to see how they’re coping with the heat. Older adults are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses because of age, any chronic illnesses (obesity, heart disease, etc.) and medications they may take to combat any health needs.
  5. Drink water (even if you’re not thirsty). This goes for people of all ages. You may consider drinking a beverage that contains electrolytes, such as a sports drink (look for one with no or low sugar added).
  6. Know what NOT to do. Never leave an infant or pet in a hot car. According to the CDC, temperatures inside a car can raise by 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open.
  7. Know the warning signs. Look for symptoms of three heat-related illnesses:
    • Heat cramps – These muscle spasms often occur in the legs or abdomen.
    • Heat exhaustion – Symptoms include skin that’s cool, moist, pale or ashen in color, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, exhaustion or heavy sweating.
    • Heat stroke – Symptoms include hot, red skin, vomiting, high body temperature and possible loss of consciousness.

Take any heat-related symptoms seriously. Seek medical care immediately if you have muscle cramps, headache, nausea, vomiting or any unusual symptoms. Call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest Emergency Room.

“If you’re with someone who suffers severe symptoms, get them to a cooler place immediately, douse or spray them with cold water, and cover them with cold, wet towels or bags of ice until emergency medical personnel arrive,” says emergency medicine physician Christopher Stella, MD, with Grand View Urgent Care.

If you have any common illnesses or minor injuries this weekend that are not heat-related, Grand View Health Urgent Care locations in Kulpsville and Quakertown can help. They’re open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Check wait times and book an appointment.