Staying Out of the ER During Heat Waves

Summer is usually a season for fun in the sun. But when the heat gets extreme, it’s anything but.

Heat waves can cause serious health risks that can put you in the emergency room or even cause death. But fortunately, there is a lot you can do to reduce the impact of heat waves on your health.


Stay cool and safe during heat waves with these tips:

Stay Informed
Pay attention to weather forecasts each day so you know what temperatures to expect, and what the heat index will be. With this knowledge, you can plan appropriately for the weather. 

Keep An Emergency Kit
In case of a power outage, an emergency kit ensures you have what you need to get by. This list from the American Red Cross will keep you and your loved ones ready for this and many other emergency situations.

Avoid The Heat
Limit your activity outside as much as possible, especially during peak heat hours in the middle of the day. Try to spend your time in the coolest and lowest parts of your house, such as the basement. Keep your curtains and blinds closed to keep the sun out.

If you don’t have air conditioning at home, find places that do where you can spend time during the day, such as libraries, schools, community centers, or malls.

Reduce Outdoor Activity
If you must work outside, keep your activity low and take frequent breaks. Always work with someone else, and drink plenty of water—at least two to four eight-ounce glasses per hour.

Avoid drinks that dehydrate, especially beverages which include caffeine or a high sugar content.

Dress For The Heat
Wear clothing that will help you stay cool—loose, light-colored garments. It’s better to cover your skin rather than expose it, as it protects you from sunburn and encourages perspiration, which will keep you cooler. Outside, wear a hat and sunscreen.

Never Leave Children In Vehicles
It’s never safe to leave a child in an enclosed car, but it’s especially life-threatening during a heat wave. Leaving a child in an enclosed car during a heat wave could kill him/her. This also applies to pets.

Know The Symptoms
Signs of heat exhaustion include headaches, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps and excessive sweating. If a person starts exhibiting these symptoms, move him/her to a cooler place to rest. The person should drink something with electrolytes, such as a sports drink, fruit juice or milk.

Don’t ignore these symptoms! If left untreated, the person’s condition can escalate to heat stroke, which can cause organ failure, comas or even death.

If you observe signs of heat stroke—including an extremely high temperature, redness on the skin, changes in consciousness, a rapid and weak pulse, shallow breathing, vomiting or seizures—call 9-1-1. 

Taking Precautions Can Minimize The Impact
The intensity of summer heat waves push the human body beyond its capabilities. They are a serious threat that can lead to health risks, expensive emergency room bills, and even death.

Fortunately, if you take the precautions seriously and protect yourself and your loved ones, you can minimize the impact of a heat wave on your summer fun.