We’re not all about selling you quality service and HVAC equipment here. We genuinely want our customers to stay comfortable and safe during the extreme temperatures that Ohio can bring during the summer and winter months. So, today, we’re taking a break from providing heating and cooling tips, and spending a little time talking about hot weather safety. Have fun out in the sun, but stay safe out there too!
It’s a sad fact that high temperatures kill hundreds of people each summer. Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, and yet, more than 600 people die due to extreme heat every year.
It’s wise to take steps to stay well-informed, remain hydrated, and keep cool. Getting overheated can make you sick. You’ll become ill from the heat if your body can’t compensate for it and properly cool you down. The main factors affecting your body’s essential ability to cool itself in sweltering weather are:
Personal factors. Age, weight, fever, dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, mental illness, sunburn, and drug and alcohol use all play roles in whether or not a person can cool off adequately in the heat of summer.
High humidity. When the humidity increases, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly, keeping your body from releasing heat as fast as it needs to.
Those at highest risk include people ages 65 and older, children younger than two, and people with mental illness or chronic diseases.
Keep a close eye on people who depend on you for their well-being and ask these questions:
• Do they need help staying cool?
• Are they drinking enough to stay hydrated?
• Are they in a temperature-controlled environment (AC, fans, etc.)?
People at risk for heat-related illness should take the following protective actions to prevent illness or even death:
• Air conditioning is the very best way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death, so take advantage of air-conditioned buildings wherever possible. Your local health department can help with locating air-conditioned shelters in your area. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk by spending time in public facilities with AC and using air conditioning in vehicles.
• Don’t rely on the air movement that a fan provides as your only means of cooling during an extreme heat event. Combine it with other methods, such as relocating to the basement temporarily, where the temperature is naturally far cooler.
• Drink more water or sports drinks than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start drinking.
• Check on friends and neighbors and have folks do the same for you.
• Don’t cook indoors – it will only make your home – and you – hotter.
Even young, healthy people can get heat-sick if they participate in strenuous physical activities in hot weather:
• Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated, and be sure it has an adequate SPF rating to provide sufficient protection.
• Limit the length of your outdoor activities, especially midday, when the sun is hottest. If outdoor exertion is unavoidable, seek shade often.
• Likewise, pace your activities. Begin slowly and gently pick up the pace. Stop (or at least take a short break) at the first sign of overheating – don’t overdo it.
• As we said before, drink more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Muscle cramping is an early sign of heat-related distress and inadequate hydration.
• Wear light-colored, loose, and lightweight clothing. Black absorbs the sun’s heat, and it also absorbs energy from the body instead of reflecting it.
If you play a sport that practices outside during hot weather, look out for your teammates and protect yourself:
• Schedule workouts and practices at cooler times of day, no mid-day when the temperature is at its hottest.
• Monitor a teammate’s condition, and have them monitor yours.
• Seek medical care if you or a teammate has heat-related illness symptoms.
Take these additional steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and even death during hot weather:
• Take cold showers or baths to help you cool down.
• Never leave children or pets in cars – not even with the windows cracked. The temperature inside an enclosed vehicle can exceed safe limits within a few minutes of turning off the ignition.
• Check the local news often for the current weather forecast, and health and safety updates.
As the old saying goes – knowledge is power, but when we’re talking about hot weather, staying informed might mean the difference between life and death. Stay aware and stay safe and cool this summer!