Summer is here! So is the heat. Are you ready?

As the weather gets warmer and the heat sets in, keep some of these tips in mind to help stay cool and healthy.

  • Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to beat the heat. In hot weather, drink enough water to quench your thirst. The average adult needs eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, and even more during hot weather.
  • Skip the caffeine and pop; drink water instead.
  • Dress for the weather. When outside, wear lightweight clothing of natural fabric and a ventilated hat.
  • Eat light – Replace heavy or hot meals with lighter, refreshing foods. And always eat smaller meals before work or intense activity.
  • Never leave people or pets unattended in a closed car for any period of time.

While we can all try our best to stay cool, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion – This condition occurs when a person cannot sweat enough to cool the body, which usually happens as a result of not drinking enough fluids during hot weather. It generally develops when a person is playing, working or exercising outside in extreme heat. Symptoms include:

  • dizziness, weakness, nausea, headache and vomiting
  • blurry vision
  • body temperature rising to 38.3C
  • sweaty skin
  • feeling hot and thirsty
  • difficulty speaking

It is important to recognize these symptoms so that you can provide support. A person suffering from heat exhaustion must move to a cool place and drink plenty of water to avoid a more severe heat-related condition – heat stroke.

Heat Stroke – this happens as the result of untreated heat exhaustion. Symptoms include the following:

  • sweating stops
  • unawareness of thirst and heat
  • body temperature rising rapidly to above 38.3C
  • confusion or delirium
  • possible loss of consciousness or seizure

Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that must be treated quickly by a trained professional. Until help arrives, cool the person down by placing ice on his or her neck, armpits and groin. If the person is awake and able to swallow, have him or her drink a small glass of water every 15 minutes or until help arrives.

It is important to know and be able to identify the sings of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. That way, the person experiencing the symptoms can be addressed and treated quickly.

Be prepared. Stay safe. Drink lots of water. And enjoy some of this weather. It is summer, after all!