DPH Shares Tips to Beat the Heat This Summer

June 29, 2016

The summer season has arrived and Georgians are bracing for intense, hot weather.

The state has already experienced higher than normal temperatures, and it doesn’t look like that trend is slowing down as we enter peak summer months. As you make plans for your summertime activities, learn how to protect yourself from health issues associated with extreme heat.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) reminds Georgians to avoid prolonged exposure to the heat and sun and to limit strenuous outdoor activity to prevent heat-related illnesses. Keep the following tips in mind to protect your health when temperatures are high:

  • Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library or a friend or relative’s home – even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave infants, children, adults or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open. Remember to always Look Again to be sure everyone is out. If you see anyone locked in a hot vehicle, call 911.
  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours and cut down on outdoor exercise. If you must exercise, take short breaks and stay hydrated.   
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on the labels).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends three key ways to protect your health in extreme heat: stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed.

It’s also important for everyone to know the signs of heat illnesses and how to respond.

Symptoms such as heavy sweating, cold or clammy skin, nausea and fainting are all signs of heat exhaustion. If you see someone experiencing this symptoms, move to a cooler location, apply cool wet cloths to the body and give them water.

The more serious health effect of extreme heat is stroke, which is indicated by body temperatures about 103°F, rapid pulse and hot, red, dry or moist skin. In this case, call 911 immediately for help.  

To learn more about extreme heat and precautions to take to prevent heat-related illnesses, visit www.cdc.gov/extremeheat

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