Summer Heat Safety
The Hundred Hottest Days of the year kick off with Memorial Day in May, and officially end in September with Labor Day. These two holidays bookend the summer months, and can be a convenient reminder that it’s time to think about safety tips to prevent heat stroke, sun burn, and other heat related incidents.
Cool Down This Summer With These Hot Tips
Never leave children or pets unattended in your car. Keep your car locked when it is parked in the driveway or garage.
Even with the windows rolled down, a vehicle will act like an oven. Temperatures can quickly reach temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In mere 70 degree weather, a car can reach 120 degrees in less than one hour which could seriously harm your child or pet.
Hot cars kill dozens of children every year. These accidents are preventable. Make sure that your vehicle is locked as soon as everyone is out of the car, to prevent children from wandering back into the vehicle. Lock doors to the house and do not allow children outside without adult supervision. Keep your pets at home with plenty of air conditioning and water, never leave your pet in a car.
Observe heat advisories and limit physical activity
If you work outside for much of the day, take short breaks rather than one or two long breaks. Consider taking a short break in the shade or in an air conditioned area to cool down. Drink plenty of water even if you do not feel thirsty. Take cool showers when you get home, and consider finding a well air conditioned restaurant or café for lunch breaks, to keep your internal temperature down.
If you are outside, monitor the temperature of any equipment before using it. This includes playground equipment which can absorb heat and result in burns from exposure.
Wear, and reapply, sunscreen.
- Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
- Avoid sunexposure from 10 am until 4 PM, when UV exposure is most damaging.
- Check the expiration date.
- Consider wearing sunglasses, a hat and clothing which offers SPF protection.
Drink water all day long. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.
Check on family and Friends, including the elderly
Elderly adults are another demographic who suffer from the heat. As we get older, we lose the ability to perspire as much, so our body temperature does not regulate itself as well. Very elderly adults, especially those suffering forms of dementia, may lose the ability to feel extreme temperatures and could easily overdress for the heat, forget to turn the air conditioner on, forget to open the windows to circulate air, or even forget to stay hydrated. If you have an elderly family member who lives alone, check on them frequently to make sure they remain cool and hydrated. If they do not have air conditioning or do not use it as much as they should, consider helping them cover the windows to keep the interior of their home dark, and prevent heat transfer from outside. If the elderly relative takes medications, read the labels or ask their pharmacist to make sure the medication will not increase their risk of dehydration or heat stress.