Staying Healthy and Cool in Summer Heat

Jun 19 2014

People cycling on a hot summer day.

As the summer solstice approaches and the season becomes official, temperatures across the U.S are beginning to rise. Hot temperatures are responsible for several hundred deaths each year in the U.S and need to be taken seriously. These high temperatures, coupled with dry air or high humidity, can present real risks to personal well being. For outdoor workers and those who spend a good deal of time exercising or recreating outside during the summer, it is especially important to be aware of the risks of overheating and heat stroke and take precautions to prevent these things from happening. Planning and preparing yourself for severe heat and understanding what you should and shouldn’t do in high heat is important to remaining safe and healthy.

Monitor Forecasts & Plan


The first step in preparing for summer heat is to monitor the forecasts and plan for severe heat. This may involve altering your activity schedule somewhat or postponing certain activities until later in the day when temperatures are cooler. During extreme heat, it is often dangerous to exert yourself outdoors for prolonged periods, so you should make efforts to monitor the weather forecasts for heat advisories and plan accordingly. If you must exert yourself outdoors during the hottest times of day, be sure to take frequent breaks and drink a lot of water and sports drinks to hydrate and replenish.

Reduce Afternoon Activity & Hydrate


During high heat days you may have to reduce activity levels in the afternoon and early evening due to high temperatures. Even less strenuous activities like mowing the lawn or washing the car may need to be postponed until temperatures drop–during the evening or early morning is often the better time to do these activities. Above all, when you work or recreate outside, make sure you remain hydrated at all times. During high heat and direct sun, drink plenty of fluids–as much as a gallon of water per day depending on exertion levels.

Ensure Home Cooling Systems Perform Well


Ideally, you want to ensure that your home cooling systems are in good condition and perform well before the temperature rises during summer. If you haven’t inspected the A/C or serviced the swamp cooler, now is the time. Make sure that the cooling system cools effectively, but also ensure that your home retains cool through proper sealing and insulation. Having a well maintained air conditioner or swamp cooler will help enormously to cope with the high temperatures. Consider running some fans as well to keep the air circulating and to avoid having to constantly run the central air.

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