There were 7,415 heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These preventable deaths illustrate how important preparation is during extreme temperatures. Whether you are swimming at the beach or lounging in the park, you should be prepared for extreme heat conditions.
The CDC provides three easy steps to prevent heat-related illnesses: stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed. This summer, make sure you have shade wherever you are going and have attire, like a sun hat or a thin, long-sleeved shirt, to avoid direct contact with the sun. Be sure to drink lots of water—more than you usually do. Your body quickly loses fluids in the summer more quickly, which can lead to illness. Finally, stay informed by monitoring the local weather forecast and prepare accordingly for outdoor activities.
Know the Signs
The two most dangerous heat-related illnesses, besides dehydration, are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is exhibited through cold, clammy skin, heavy sweating and nausea. If you or someone shows these symptoms, move to a cooler location and sip water. If you or someone has a rapid pulse, hot and red skin, and loses consciousness, this could mean heat stroke, and you should call 911 immediately. In this latter scenario, do not give fluids to the person showing the symptoms. Do, however, move them to a cooler location and lower their temperature with cool cloths.