Beat the Heat This Summer

by Nicole Viau, Health Promotion & Communication Specialist, City of Nashua Division of Public Health & Community Services

Spending time outdoors is great in the summer months, but we must take precautions to keep ourselves healthy and safe when the temperature rises. Although heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable, more than 600 people in the United States die from extreme heat each year. Everyone is at risk in extreme heat, but individuals at highest risk include young children, people older than age 65, and people with chronic medical conditions.

The two common heat-related illnesses to be aware of this summer are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Signs of heat exhaustion include moist and pale skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea and vomiting, and dizziness or fatigue. Signs of heat stroke include red and hot skin, rising body temperature, changes in consciousness, rapid and weak pulse, and rapid and shallow breathing.

To prevent heat-related illness, we encourage people to limit their time outside and seek air conditioning if and when possible when the weather gets hot. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Limit your time outdoors to the cooler hours, often the morning and evening. If you spend time outdoors, avoid physical labor and extensive exercise and wear light-weight, loose-fitting clothing. Take steps to keep your pets safe too by keeping them in the shade, providing them with plenty of water, and keeping them home in air conditioning if you leave to run errands.

If you begin to feel sick, find a cool spot to rest and seek medical attention immediately. Don’t forget to check on your relatives and neighbors to make sure they are okay, this can be done by phone to practice safe social distancing. Let’s beat the heat together!

Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash.

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