Preventing Heat-Related Illness
- Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit (F) within minutes. Exposure to such high temperatures can kill in minutes.
- Drink plenty of water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you don’t feel thirsty. Injury and death can occur from dehydration, which can happen quickly and unnoticed. Symptoms of dehydration are often confused with other causes. Your body needs water to keep cool. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies.
- Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine. They can make you feel good briefly, but make the heat’s effects on your body worse. This is especially true about beer, which actually dehydrates the body. People who are on fluid-restrictive diets or who have a problem with fluid retention should consult their doctor before increasing liquid intake.
- Air conditioning provides the safest escape from extreme heat, and there are ways to maximize how it can work for you:
- Install window air conditioners snugly.
- Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
- Vacuum air conditioner filters weekly during periods of high use to provide more cool air.
- Go elsewhere to get relief during the hottest part of the day if you have no air conditioning.
- Stay indoors as much as possible, on the lowest floor out of the sun.
- Keep heat outside and cool air inside, closing any doors or windows that may allow heat in.
- Consider keeping storm windows installed throughout the year to keep the heat out of a house.
- Plan to check on family, friends, and neighbors -especially the elderly – who do not have air conditioning or who spend much of their time alone.
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