Tips for beating the heat

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Stay cool and stay safe this summer

By Landmark News Service


Virginia health officials are recommending people take precautions, with the daytime temperatures breaking records and the heat index topping 100 degrees.
People who are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness include the very young, the very old, people with disabilities and chronic illness, and those under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Last year, there were 10 heat-related deaths in Virginia when temperatures reached 100 degrees.
Virginia health officials issued the following recommendations:
• Schedule activities and outdoor work during the coolest parts of the day. In the summer, the heating effect from sunlight is greatest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Take a cool shower or a bath. Consider a trip to the mall or a local library or visit a friend with air conditioning. Spending at least two hours a day in air conditioning reduces the number of heat-related illnesses. When temperatures reach the upper 90s or above, a fan may not prevent heat-related illness.
• Drink plenty of cool fluids, two to four glasses each hour. To replace salt and minerals lost from sweating, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or when you have to work outside. However, talk to your doctor first if you are on a fluid-restricted diet, medications or a low-salt diet.
• Avoid sunburn and wear light clothing. Sunburn limits your body’s ability to keep cool and also causes a loss of body fluids. Use sunscreen. Lighter-weight clothing that is loose fitting and light colored is more comfortable during extreme temperatures. Use a hat to keep the head cool.
• Give your body a break as the heat wave can be stressful on your body. Limit
physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
• Never leave a child or a pet in a car. Temperatures inside a car can reach over 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.
• Use the “buddy system” if you’re working outside. If you’re working outside and suffer a heat-related illness, you could become confused or could lose consciousness. Make sure someone else knows of your plans.
• Check on friends and neighbors who may be at increased risk of heat illness during this period of extreme heat.

For more information about heat-related illnesses, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website at www.vdh.virginia.gov.