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by Kayla Bell

Extreme heat can be dangerous, posing significant health risks. As temperatures soar, it’s crucial to take steps to protect yourself and those around you. Here’s a comprehensive guide to staying safe during a heatwave.

Hydration is paramount. Our bodies rely on fluids to regulate temperature. During hot weather, sweat increases to cool us down, leading to fluid loss. Dehydration can set in quickly, causing fatigue, headaches, and even heatstroke. The key is to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Opt for water over sugary drinks or excessive caffeine, which can dehydrate you further.

Staying cool is another critical defense against the heat. Limit strenuous activity outdoors, especially during the hottest part of the day, typically between 10 am and 4 pm. If you must be outside, wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing made from breathable fabrics like cotton. Seek shade whenever possible and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and face from the sun. Sunscreen is also essential to prevent sunburn, which can worsen heatstroke symptoms.

Create a cool haven at home. If you don’t have air conditioning, spend time in public spaces with cool temperatures, such as libraries, shopping malls, or community centers. Taking a cool shower or bath is another effective way to lower your body temperature. At home, keep curtains or blinds closed on sun-facing windows to prevent heat buildup indoors. Consider using fans to circulate air but remember they won’t be effective in extremely hot environments.

Be mindful of vulnerable populations. Extreme heat can be especially dangerous for young children, older adults, and those with chronic health conditions. Check-in on them regularly to ensure they are staying hydrated and cool. Never leave children or pets unattended in parked cars, even for a short period. The temperature inside a car can rise rapidly, leading to heatstroke and even death.

By following these simple tips and staying informed about local weather forecasts, you can stay safe and healthy during even the hottest days of summer. Remember, heatstroke is a medical emergency. If you experience symptoms like high body temperature, confusion, or dizziness, seek immediate medical attention.

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