We all love to play outdoors during the summer—the kids are out of school, we have more time to enjoy our toys and take vacations. But while you’re having fun in the sun, remember to take some common sense heat precautions during summer’s hot, humid days.
Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the U.S., according to the National Weather Service, resulting in hundreds of deaths every year. Here in Florida, we especially need to be mindful of the heat index, a measure of how hot it feels when humidity is considered along with air temperature. It’s not uncommon for us to have “feels like” temperatures over 100 degrees during the summer. And temperatures that high can cause heat-related illness.
Anyone can be affected by the heat, but children younger than 2, people over 65, and those suffering from chronic disease or mental illness are most susceptible to heat-related illness. Here are some common-sense reminders to help you and your loved ones stay cooler and avoid heat-related illness this summer:
During times of high heat, stay in air conditioning as much as possible. If you don’t have air conditioning or it’s not working, find air-conditioned places you can go for relief during the hottest hours of the day, such as a library, theater, or mall.
Keep shades or curtains closed on windows that receive direct sun, or install awnings or window tinting. This will help keep your home cooler.
Provide shade and plenty of cool water for pets outside, and check on them frequently to make sure they’re not suffering from the heat. During the hottest times of the day, bring them inside if possible.
Even though it’s cooler inside, you probably won’t want to stay there all summer long! Here are some tips for staying safe when you venture outside:
Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Schedule most outdoor activity, whether play, exercise, or work, for the cooler morning and evening hours.
Stay in the shade as much as possible, especially during the hottest parts of the day. If no shade is available, limit outdoor activity to 15-20 minutes at a time during times of highest heat and humidity.
Take frequent breaks, and use the buddy system when working or exercising outdoors in high heat.
Stay hydrated. Sip cool water or a sports drink every 20 minutes. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.
NEVER leave children or pets alone in an enclosed vehicle. It only takes a few minutes for temperatures to reach a dangerous level.
Signs of heat-related illness
Even if you take precautions, you’ll still want to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illness. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; headache; nausea; dizziness; and exhaustion. If you or someone you’re with shows these symptoms, move into a cooler environment, remove or loosen as much clothing as possible, and apply cold, wet towels to the skin. Every 15 minutes drink four ounces of a cool sports drink, juice, milk, or water, to replace lost electrolytes.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency, and occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and begins to stop functioning. Symptoms include very high body temperature, red skin which may be either dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; confusion; vomiting; and seizures. If you suspect you or someone else has heatstroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Attempt to cool the body quickly by immersing it up to the neck in cold water if possible. You may also spray the person with cold water, or cover him or her with towels soaked with ice water, changing the towels frequently.
By taking proper heat precautions, you and your family can enjoy all the summer fun the Sarasota/Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch areas have to offer. Remember, Lakewood Financial is here for all your insurance needs. Whether you need to protect your home, car, boat, or business, just give us a call at 941-747-4600 or contact us online.
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