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July 6, 2016
Extreme Heat and Your Health

When temperatures soar this summer, it’s easy to forget how dangerous the heat can be. Many people forget the power of the sun and the danger of humidity and air quality. While our bodies are certainly powerful, they can easily be overcome by extreme heat.

According to the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, more than 650 people die from heat stroke each year in the United States.1

Extreme heat can affect your brain and organ functions. But the good news is heat-related illness and death is preventable with a few simple tips:

Dress for the weather – Wear loose, light clothing. When possible, avoid heavy garments and multiple layers.

Wear SPF – When you’re sunburn, your body is unable to cool itself down. So wear protective head gear, slap on SPF 30 or greater, wear sunglasses and protect your skin from the harsh sun rays.

Stay cool – Use a small fan at your desk, buy spray bottles to keep in your work vehicle, and pack plenty of water and liquids on ice in a cooler if you’ll be outside during the day.

Take breaks – Give your body a chance to re-energize. Take note of the hottest parts of the day and make sure to take breaks often especially during those hours. Even 15 minutes can help lower your core temperature and give your body a much-needed time out.

Read your medications — Some medications can be dangerous when mixed with extreme heat. Make sure you know if you at more at-risk for illness or complications when the temperatures rise.

Check on elders  — Check in on those who live alone, those who live without air conditioning, or those in multi-level homes where heat can rise quickly and dangerously. And don’t forget about pets!

1 https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0606-extreme-heat.html