Prevent Heat Illness This Summer!

The recent heat wave that blanketed the majority of the U.S. left a toll on those dealing with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. The New York Daily News reports that eight people died in New York City from heat-related sickness and WGN reports another four died in Chicago from the same causes.

Summer heat waves are a burden on those struggling to keep cool, but they don't have to be deadly or even dangerous if you're prepared.

Stay Hydrated

It sounds obvious but it can't be emphasized enough. The CDC stresses how important it is to drink water before you feel thirsty. By the time you crave water, the dehydration from heat exposure has already started. Electrolyte drinks are fine, but dilute them as much as possible. The high amounts of sugar in sports drink will contribute to dehydration rather than combat it, notes the CDC.

Avoid Alcohol

A poolside margarita sounds refreshing, but it's doing the opposite of what you need. Like sugar, alcohol causes the body to lose more fluids when it sweats and can even cause stomach cramps if the drinks are extremely cold.

Seek Cool Air

Chances are you have some sort of air conditioning in your home. The Boston Globe estimates that roughly 90 percent of homes are equipped with A/C. But for that other 10 percent, there are other options. If your home is without cooling, spend time at a public place — mall, coffee shop, library — any building with cool temperatures.

If home or public air conditioning isn't an option, contact your local health department and ask about heat-relief shelters in your area. After all that, if you're still without options, try taking a cold shower or bath for a quick-cool down. Fans might feel effective but don't too much to cool the body when the temperature is above 90 degrees.

Limit Exercise

If avoiding the outdoors just isn't an option, limit your exercise time to early mornings and evenings when it's cooler. Keep your workouts to less than an hour and make sure you're well hydrated before you start. Rest in shady areas and drink two to four glasses of water per hour, notes the CDC. Sun block is also helpful when you're in the sun.

Find time to rest after time outdoors. Sit down, read a magazine, explore some extra channels through, take a short nap or anything else that will help you cool off and recover from the outdoors.

No Child Left Behind

A child or pet should never be left in an unattended car under any circumstance, but it's even more dangerous during a heat wave. Even if you're away for just a brief moment, no one should be left behind in your car.

Blame the Plants

Not a tip but an interesting fact: Our plants might be harming us during heat waves, reports National Geographic. A study found that during extremely high temperatures, plants have trouble absorbing pollution, which can exaggerate respiratory problems for those in the area. Arid regions like Arizona won't see much effect from this, but cities like New York and Chicago could see drastic changes in air quality during the extreme heat.

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