This week brings us 90-plus degree temperatures and, as a result, an increased risk of heat-related illness. On average, 600 people die each year in the U.S. from complications of extreme heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Check out these tips to beat the heat.
1) Don’t exercise outside during periods of extreme heat.
Runners should target mornings and evenings, when it’s cooler. Exercise increases
your core body temperature and decreases your level of dehydration, so hydration
before and during exercise is important. Dehydration can lead to exertional heat
stroke, which is one of the top killers of athletes in training.
2) Avoid sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages because they can dehydrate you.
If you’re dehydrated, your body loses its ability to appropriately regulate temperature.
One sports drink a day is fine, but water should be your go-to drink.
3) Monitor the water intake of children.
Just because you provide water, doesn’t mean they’re drinking it. Plus, children
sweat less than adults, which makes it more difficult for them to cool off. For children
and adults spending time outside, one solid “glug” of water every 10 minutes is a
4) Take a dip, or at least sponge off with cool water.
Cool water can quickly lower your body temperature, so jump in a lake or pool. If
that’s not an option, grab a wet towel or washcloth. The evaporation of water off your
skin, especially in conjunction with circulating air, will cool you down.
5) If you’re on medication, be extra cautious.
Some medications, including those for high blood pressure, cardiac conditions and
mental illness, can put children and adults at greater risk of dehydration, particularly
when the heat index is above 90 degrees. If you’re taking medication, put an extra
focus on staying hydrated.
6) Keep an eye on friends and neighbors.
No one is immune from heat-related illnesses, but certain populations are more
susceptible, including senior citizens, children and those who work or exercise
outside in the extreme heat. Check on them twice a day.
7) Water, water, water! Especially if you’re pregnant
During pregnancy, blood volume increases 30-50 percent so added hydration is
important. Dehydration in pregnancy can lead to light headedness, fatigue and lower
blood pressures. Call your health care provider if you do not feel well after being in
the heat and you have tried resting with plenty of water intake.