NEWS | Aug. 7, 2012

Beat the summer heat

By 628th Air Base Wing Safety Office

As the hot summer continues, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services wants to remind everyone to beware of heat-related illnesses and to take the simple precautions necessary to preventing them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive heat exposure caused 8,015 deaths in the United States between 1979 and 1999. The types of heat illnesses range from minor to severe, from painful heat cramps to very fatal heat strokes, but all are fairly easy to prevent. While it is important to enjoy the summer, it is also important to enjoy it safely.

Those most at risk of heat related illnesses are people 65 and older, the very young, the obese and those with blood or sweat-related illnesses or medications. This includes people with low blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, dehydration or malnutrition. The risk is especially high when air conditioning is unavailable for long periods of time and during heat waves.
The DHHS warns that heat illness prevention centers on remaining out of extreme temperatures whenever possible and remaining fully hydrated.

Here are a few tips for staying cool:

· When outdoors, make sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
· Try to avoid drinks with large amounts of caffeine, alcohol or sugar, as these can inhibit your body's cooling process.
· Start drinking before you get thirsty.
· When temperatures get extremely high, make sure to go someplace cool, out of the heat. Even a few hours of air conditioning per day can prevent heat stroke.
· If you exercise outside, try to do it in the early morning or late evening, when temperatures are cooler.
· Wear lightweight, loose, light-colored clothing, including wide-brimmed hats.