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During Hot Weather - What to Do to Prevent Heat Problems


Drink Plenty of Fluids

Increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.

Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.

Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol, or large amounts of sugar-these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.


Replace Salt and Minerals

Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.


Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen

Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Sunburn affects your body's ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.


Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully

If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body's thermostat will have a chance to recover.


Pace Yourself

If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.


Stay Cool Indoors

Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library-even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.


Use a Buddy System

When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness.


Adjust to the Environment

Be aware that any sudden change in temperature, such as an early summer heat wave, will be stressful to your body. Limit your physical activity until toy become accustomed to the heat.


Use Common Sense

  • Avoid hot foods and heavy meals-they add heat to your body.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body.
  • Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
  • Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.
  • Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.

This information is from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Mono County Health Department's Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety