Summer Heat Safety
Summertime in the Midwest is a great time for outdoor activity.
The Scott County Health Department reminds everyone to keep safety in mind when summer heat turns extreme. All people, even young and healthy individuals, can have a heat-related illness when the weather is hot.
People can suffer from heat related illness when the body does not cool properly or cannot cool itself enough. Normally, our bodies keep themselves cool by releasing heat through the skin and by sweating. Sweat evaporates off the skin and cools us down. This is our body’s natural temperature control system.
However, in hot and humid conditions, this is sometimes not enough and body temperature can rise rapidly. If unattended this can lead to heat related illness that can become serious or even deadly.
Those at Greatest Risk
Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, the people who are at greatest risk include:
- People age 65 or older
- Infants and young children
- Overweight individuals
- People who are performing manual labor or exercising outdoors
- People who are physically ill, especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as those for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation.
Even young and healthy individuals can have a heat-related illness if they are very active during hot and humid weather.
Tips to Protect Your Health
When temperatures and humidity are high, remember to keep cool and use common sense. Follow these tips to protect your health:
- Increase fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. The best way to tell you are well-hydrated is if your urine is light yellow. If it gets dark, stop and rehydrate by drinking water immediately.
- If experiencing a lot of sweating, replace salt and minerals by eating foods like bananas and salty crackers, or drink rehydrating beverages that contain salts such as sports drinks, and special rehydration fluids.
- Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and wear sunscreen.
- Wear hats that shade your face such as sun hats, visors, etc.
- Keep in the shade or air conditioned areas as much as possible.
- Work slowly if you are not used to working or exercising in heat and humidity. Stop immediately if you get dizzy, nauseated, or feel weak. Go into an air conditioned space and drink cool liquids.
- Use a buddy system. Watch others for heat-induced illness, since some people may not realize that they are suffering heat-related illnesses and can become confused or lose consciousness.
- Do not leave children or pets in cars. Even in cool temperatures this cars can heat up to very dangerous even deadly temperatures.
Heat Related Illnesses
The following are common heat related illnesses.
- Heat Stroke
- Heat Exhaustion
- Heat Cramps
- Heat Rash
For information about these illnesses including how to recognize signs and symptoms visit:
CDC Extreme Heat: A Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety.