Beat the Heat
All heat related deaths and illnesses are preventable. How can you beat the heat? Stay cool, hydrated, and informed.
When under heat advisories or extreme heat warning, try to avoid the outdoors for extended periods of time. If you do need to go out, follow the tips below.
Wear Sunscreen: since we live in the sunshine state we should always wear sunscreen when heading outdoors regardless of the temperature. Did you know that a sunburn can affect your body's ability to cool down? That can make it more difficult when under heat advisories to beat the heat. A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen (at least SPF 15) can all help protect you from the sun. Follow the directions according to your sunscreen package for when and how often you should apply sunscreen.
Wear Appropriate Clothing: it is best to choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Doesn't hurt if it's light-colored too!
Stay Indoors: so you decided to stay inside and "chill". That's great for beating the heat, and staying in an air-conditioned place will certainly help. Worried about your electric bill or don't have air-conditioning at home? Head to your local shopping mall, library, or other favorite indoor hang out spot (Tampa has plenty of those!).
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully and Pace Yourself: scheduling when it's coolest (mornings or evenings) will allow you to enjoy your activities at safer temperatures. If you aren't use to working or exercising in the hot environment, take your time, start slowly, and try not to exert yourself. Remember to rest often in shady areas which can feel 10-15 degrees cooler than in direct sun! If you are gasping for breath or your heart is pounding, it is best to stop your activity immediately.
Never Leave Children or Pets in Vehicles: if you think it's hot outside, imagine what it's like in a parked vehicle. Temperatures can get dangerous even when you crack the window. Have a system to remind yourself when you have a child or pet in the vehicle with you and always check to make sure everyone is out of the car. How about a headcount?
Drink Plenty of Fluids: did you know that if you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated? Make sure to drink water or sports drinks before the thirst. Sports drinks help replenish your salt and minerals that your body loses through sweat. Please consult your doctor first, if you have medical conditions that may be affected by drinking more water or sports drinks.
Hydrate Your Pets: don't forget that your 4-legged friends need to stay hydrated too. Dogs don't sweat like us humans, so make sure to provide them with plenty of fresh water in a shady area. Remember that depending on the time of day, the shady area may not be shady anymore, so pick a spot that will be shaded throughout the day.
Check Local Weather: The National Weather Service sends out alerts and advisories for our area. Our local news media outlets are also a good resource.
It's important to know the signs of heat-related illnesses and what to do. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke if not treated. Nope, they aren't the same thing. We cover both here, but heat cramps, sunburn, and heat rash are also heat-related illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a lot of helpful information available regarding all heat-related illnesses.
Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention