10 Tips to Beat the Summer Heat

July 18, 2019

July is the hottest month of the year. If you’re not careful, extended exposure to high temperatures can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion or heatstroke. As you’re spending time outdoors this summer, here are 10 tips for staying safe in extreme heat:   

1. Drink plenty of water: Stay hydrated in the summer heat by drinking plenty of water. Follow these recommendations for adults and children:

  • Children ages five to 8 years old should drink five glasses of water per day.
  • Children ages nine to 12 years old should drink seven glasses of water per day.
  • Teenagers over the age of 13 should drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water per day.
  • Adults should drink eight to 11 cups of water per day.

2. Find a cool place: Keep your home cool by running fans or air conditioning, or head to an air-conditioned place like your public library or a local cooling center in Genesee County. You can also participate in water activities, such as swimming at the community pool or going to the beach.

Some swimming locations in Genesee County include YMCA Flint, UM-Flint Recreation Center, Genesys Athletic Club, Linden County Park and Buell Lake County Park.  If you’re heading to the pool or lake with your children, follow these safety tips and make sure children wear protective swimwear, including swim shirts, shorts and shoes. Remember to wear sunscreen and bring a water bottle if you’re spending time outside.

3. Wear cool clothing: Wearing lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing can help you stay cool. Avoid wearing dark-colored clothing because it absorbs the sun’s heat, whereas white or light colors reflect light and heat.

4. Don’t leave children or pets in a closed, parked vehicle: Leaving a child or pet unattended in a closed, parked vehicle can lead to heatstroke and death. According to HeatKills.org, when it’s 70 degrees outside, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 89 degrees after 10 minutes and 104 degrees after 30 minutes. Before you leave your vehicle, double check to make sure all children and pets are out of the vehicle.

5. Check in with older loved ones to make sure they’re staying cool: Make sure your older family members and friends are prepared for the hot summer months. Check in to see if they are taking measures to cool their home and remind them to stay hydrated. If they spend a lot of time doing outdoor activities such as gardening, make sure loved ones stay cool, take periodic breaks in cool areas and know who to call in case they begin experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

6. Avoid using the oven: When it’s too hot to cook, turn to meals that can be prepared in a crockpot, on the grill or in your microwave. Limiting oven use will keep you and your home cool.

7. Know your body’s cooling points: Your wrists, neck and elbows are pressure points on the body that can quickly cool your body when cool water is applied. Apply a cool, damp cloth or an ice pack to these pressure points to get instant relief from the heat.

8. Block the sun: Hang light-blocking curtains and blinds to cool your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, window treatments can help decrease room temperatures by 45 percent. When you head outside, remember to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher.    

9. Eat more fruits and vegetables: There’s a reason why salads are a go-to meal during the hot summer months. On hot summer days, go for foods that are easy to digest such as fruits and vegetables. These foods are filled with water and can help you stay hydrated and cool.

10. Switch to energy efficient lightbulbs: Long-lasting, compact fluorescent bulbs produce less heat and about 70 percent less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs. Swapping out lightbulbs will keep your home cool and save you money on energy costs.

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion can happen to anyone. If you begin experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, a high temperature or fainting, seek cooler shelter immediately. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for a full list of symptoms of heat-related illnesses and what to do at cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html.

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