Beat The Heat

All heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. How can you beat the heat? Stay cool, hydrated, and informed.

When under heat advisories or extreme heat warning, try to avoid the outdoors for extended periods of time. If you do need to go out, follow the tips below.

Wear Sunscreen
Because we live in the Sunshine State, we should always wear sunscreen when heading outdoors, regardless of the temperature. Did you know that a sunburn can affect your body's ability to cool down? That can make it more difficult when under heat advisories to beat the heat. A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen (at least SPF 15) all can help protect you from the sun. Follow the directions according to your sunscreen package for when and how often you should apply sunscreen.

Wear Appropriate Clothing
It is best to choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Doesn't hurt if it's light-colored too.

Stay Indoors
So you decided to stay inside and "chill." That's great for beating the heat, and staying in an air-conditioned place certainly will help. Worried about your electric bill or don't have air-conditioning at home? Head to your local shopping mall, library, or other favorite indoor hang-out spot (Tampa has plenty of those).

Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully and Pace Yourself
Scheduling when it's coolest (mornings or evenings) will allow you to enjoy your activities at safer temperatures. If you aren't used to working or exercising in the hot environment, take your time, start slowly, and try not to exert yourself. Remember to rest often in shady areas, which can feel 10-15 degrees cooler than being in direct sun. If you are gasping for breath or your heart is pounding, it is best to stop your activity immediately.

Never Leave Children or Pets in Vehicles
If you think it's hot outside, know that it can be 40-50 degrees warmer in a closed, parked car. Temperatures can get dangerous even when you crack the window. Have a system to remind yourself when you exit your vehicle; always check to make sure everyone is out of the car. How about a headcount?

Drink Plenty of Fluids
Did you know that if you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated?  Make sure to drink water (especially) or sports drinks before being thirsty. Sports drinks help replenish your salt and minerals that your body loses through sweat. Consult your doctor first, if you have medical conditions that may be affected by drinking more water or sports drinks.

Hydrate Your Pets
Don't forget that your four-legged friends need to stay hydrated, too. Dogs don't sweat like us humans, so make sure to provide them with plenty of fresh water in a shady area. Remember that as the sun moves, the shade will, too., Pick a spot that will be shaded throughout the day.

Check Local Weather
The National Weather Service sends out alerts and advisories for our area. Our local news media outlets are also a good resource.

It's important to know the signs of heat-related illnesses and what to do. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke if not treated. We cover both here, but heat cramps, sunburn, and heat rash are also heat-related illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a lot of helpful information available regarding all heat-related illnesses.

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms and What To Do

Heat Stroke Symptoms and What To Do

Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention