This summer, for the first time on record, all 50 states are forecast to see above-average temperatures and brutally high humidity.  The likelihood of conditions like heat stroke, dehydration and even contracting Zika is greater in extreme heat, so people have to be cautious and protect themselves.

To ensure your safety, be wise about when you choose to be outside. It’s best to avoid outdoor activities (especially those that are labor intensive) between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are most intense. 

Wear sun protection every day in the summer. Don’t go out the door without a quality sunscreen that’s sweat resistant. Reapply often - not just when you feel toasted or when your skin appears pink. Consider wearing a hat to shade the sensitive skin of the face.

As temperatures rise, mosquitoes feed more frequently. Protect yourself against Lyme disease and one of the greatest present concerns, the Zika virus, by wearing insect repellant to ward off ticks and mosquitos. Residents of southern states like Texas and Florida, which are most vulnerable to Zika, should be especially careful. 

Remember that existing health conditions may make some people especially vulnerable in the heat, and some medications make people prone to dehydration, so ask your doctor if your health situation might increase your risk in the high temperatures. 

Summer Heat Safety 2

In addition to these considerations, be advised to:

  • Drink plenty of water and drink fluids even when you don’t feel thirsty. Some people prefer to hydrate with coconut water to replenish electrolytes that are lost through perspiration.
  • Pay attention to the heat index. The heat index is important because it tells us what the temperature really feels like outside on a given day.
  • Know the warning signs of heat stroke: nausea, headache, chest pain, breathing problems, dizziness and rapid heart rate are all signs that indicate the need to call for help immediately.
  • Always have a cell phone or alert device on the body to use in an emergency.
  • Note that as we get older, our ability to sense changes in our body temperature decreases, so older adults may have a difficult time recognizing when it’s too hot to remain outside safely.

It is important to listen to your body and exercise caution in the hottest days of the season. No activity is worth risking a heat stroke or worse. Many fun activities will be still be possible in the fall when the days are cool and crisp!

To learn more about heat safety, visit any of the resources below: