This article is brought to you by State Farm.
Summer is the time to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine with friends and family. However, it’s important to always be mindful of the high temperatures and what the heat is doing to your body.
According to the National Weather Service, heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities each year in the United States, resulting in hundreds of deaths. That’s why it’s important to take precautionary measures and use good judgment to help protect you and your family for a safe, happy summer.
Stay cool at home
- Check air conditioning. Make sure it is properly working and insulated. Installing weatherstripping on doors and windowsills as part of your summer home maintenancewill help keep cool air in and hot air out.
- Cover windows. Use drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers for any windows that receive morning or afternoon sun. This can reduce the heat entering your home by up to 80 percent.
- Use fans strategically. Ceiling fans should run counter-clockwise to force room air down and make you feel cooler. Water from a spray bottle can help cool you down dramatically—as it evaporates off your skin, your body sheds heat.
- Cook with small appliances. Slow cookers and tabletop grills are good options over traditional ovens and stovetops to minimize heat.
Eating, drinking, and scheduling exercise
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids. Don’t wait to rehydrate until you’re thirsty. Adults should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day and may need more on hot and humid days.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks. These can lead to dehydration and increase the effects of heat illness.
- Eat meals that are well-balanced and light. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat and can add to water loss.
- Reschedule exercise. Avoid working out during the hottest part of the day. Check the weather forecast; if there’s a heat advisory you may want to move your workout indoors.
Beware of heat-related illness
- Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion. Watch for breathing that is shallow and fast, headaches, dry mouth, pale or clammy skin, muscle cramps, tiredness, disorientation, sweating, passing out, nausea, and vomiting. Seek immediate medical attention.
- Know the warning signs of heat stroke. Symptoms include dizziness, a high body temperature (above 103°F), red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating), unconsciousness, nausea, confusion, rapid, strong pulse, and throbbing headache. Seek immediate medical attention.
- Be informed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on heat-related illnesses and first aid.