Warm Weather Safety

Tips for stay­ing safe in the heat

As the tem­per­a­ture begins to rise and the days get longer, many of us find our­selves head­ing out­doors to enjoy our favorite activ­i­ties. Warm weath­er has ben­e­fits, but extreme heat can pose many health and safe­ty risks if pre­cau­tions are not tak­en. Keep the fol­low­ing safe­ty tips in mind so you and your fam­i­ly can con­tin­ue to enjoy the warm weath­er ahead. 

Be informed

Always know what to expect before head­ing out­side dur­ing the sum­mer. Check your local news or health depart­ment web­sites for extreme heat alerts. It’s also impor­tant to under­stand the effects heat can have on your body and to learn the signs of heat-relat­ed ill­ness­es and how to treat them. 

Also read: Keepin’ Cool With Sun Safe­ty — How Heat Affects Your Heart and Body

Find a buddy 

When the tem­per­a­tures are high, team up with a friend or fam­i­ly mem­ber. If you were to lose con­scious­ness or become con­fused, which are com­mon heat-relat­ed ill­ness symp­toms, it’s impor­tant to have some­one around to get you the care you need. If you have a loved one who is at high risk — infants or young chil­dren, peo­ple 65 and old­er, peo­ple who are over­weight, peo­ple with con­di­tions like heart dis­ease or high blood pres­sure, or those who work out­side — check on them at least twice a day. 

Dress for the occasion 

Dress­ing for the weath­er is a sim­ple step you can take to help pre­vent heat-relat­ed ill­ness­es. Choose light­weight, loose-fit­ting clothes made from breath­able fab­ric. Wear­ing a hat that blocks the sun from your face is anoth­er great way to stay cool. To pro­tect your eyes from the sun’s harm­ful rays, wear sun­glass­es designed to block out both UVA and UVB light.

Stay hydrat­ed

Warmer tem­per­a­tures cause you to sweat more, increas­ing your risk of dehy­dra­tion. To com­bat dehy­dra­tion, it is rec­om­mend­ed that you hydrate by drink­ing eight ounces of water ever 15 to 20 min­utes to reduce your risk of heat-relat­ed ill­ness­es1. Stay away from drinks that can cause dehy­dra­tion or are full of caf­feine such as alco­hol, ener­gy drinks and sodas. 

Wear sun­screen

Even on cloudy days, it is impor­tant to remem­ber to wear sun­screen. Sun­screen, specif­i­cal­ly SPF 30 or high­er, can help pro­tect your skin from the sun’s UV rays and pre­vent the devel­op­ment of skin cancer3. It is rec­om­mend­ed that you apply sun­screen every two hours to avoid sun­burns. If you are swim­ming or exer­cis­ing out­side in the heat, you may need to reap­ply your sun­screen more often. 

Cool off indoors

When it’s hot out­side, it may be best to head indoors. Stay cool in an air-con­di­tioned place as much as pos­si­ble. If your home does­n’t have air con­di­tion­ing, head to the library or your favorite restau­rant. Even just a few hours spent in a cool, air-con­di­tioned space can help your body stay cool­er when you head back into the heat. 

If you are look­ing for addi­tion­al resources for find­ing a cool place to stay, vis­it Keep Cool Illi­nois to find a cool­ing cen­ter near you. 

Sched­ule out­door activ­i­ties accordingly

As the tem­per­a­ture ris­es, many peo­ple move their work­outs and hob­bies out­side. Although being out­side has many ben­e­fits, such as boost­ing your endor­phins and pro­vid­ing a vari­ety of activ­i­ties to par­tic­i­pate in, it can also pose health threats. Heat-relat­ed ill­ness­es can be avoid­ed by spend­ing your active time out­side dur­ing the cool­er parts of the day, such as in the ear­ly morn­ing or late evening. If you are new to being out or exer­cis­ing in the heat, it is impor­tant that you take pre­cau­tions such as start­ing off slow and work­ing your way up to longer and more stren­u­ous times out­side. To help avoid heat-relat­ed ill­ness­es, it is rec­om­mend­ed you take fre­quent breaks to rest in the shade, prefer­ably in air con­di­tion­ing. Uti­lize these breaks to hydrate, cool down your body and reap­ply sunscreen.

Address your allergies

For some of us, the start of spring also means the start of aller­gy sea­son. Although there are many over-the-counter (OTC) options to take care of your sea­son­al symp­toms, it is always a good idea to ask a health­care pro­fes­sion­al before tak­ing any new med­ica­tions for your run­ny nose, itchy eyes, or irri­tat­ed skin. Make sure to read the safe­ty label for dos­ing and ask your doc­tor if there are any alter­na­tives to consider. 

Apply insect repellent

If you will be spend­ing time out­side, specif­i­cal­ly at night or in a wood­ed area, it is impor­tant that you apply insect repel­lent lib­er­al­ly to avoid bug bites. Many insect repel­lents will help pre­vent mos­qui­to, tick and oth­er bit­ing insect bites4. Fam­i­ly mem­bers who are under 10 years old should have an adult apply their insect repel­lent to pre­vent acci­den­tal oral con­sump­tion. For the younger fam­i­ly mem­bers who are two and under, insect repel­lent should be avoided.

Remem­ber safe­ty equipment

No mat­ter the activ­i­ty, be pre­pared with any safe­ty equip­ment need­ed to stay safe. 

Whether you are a pro bik­er or a younger child using train­ing wheels, every­one who rides a bike should wear knee pads, elbow pads, and a prop­er­ly fit­ting hel­met to avoid head injuries, a lead­ing cause of head trau­ma in children.

Pools and water-relat­ed inci­dents are com­mon safe­ty haz­ards for many fam­i­lies. Ensure every fam­i­ly mem­ber has a prop­er fit­ting life vest if they can­not inde­pen­dent­ly swim or if you are in an open body of water such as on a boat. 

No mat­ter what the weath­er, our providers are always here for you. Sched­ule an appoint­ment online or walk into one of our Imme­di­ate Care Cen­ters if you or your fam­i­ly expe­ri­ence any heat-relat­ed ill­ness symptoms. 

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  • I approach patient care by encouraging shared decision-making and respecting cultural diversity. Every patient brings a history of values and experiences that help inform their care and treatment plans. I believe in creating strong relationships with my patients and using all of the resources I have to ensure the best experience possible. From newborns to the elderly, I aim to help improve the health and well-being of the community.