Temperatures are rising and so are the risks associated with extreme heat! Heat-related death and illness are preventable, and it is important to listen to your body and take precautions this summer!

Heat-related illnesses occur when the body cannot cool itself properly. Typically, your body does this by sweating, but on hot humid days, moisture in the air keeps sweat from evaporating quickly enough. There are specific populations who are more at risk for heat-related problems, including people 65 and older, infants and children, people with chronic medical conditions, outdoor workers, low-income populations, and athletes (CDC). Those who fall under this category should talk to their medical providers about ways to prevent heat-related illnesses.

There are general tips and suggestions that everybody should follow: stay cool, hydrated, and informed. It is essential to keep your body temperature cool and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Stay updated on local weather forecasts and alerts to plan activities accordingly. Know the signs and symptoms for heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke. If you or someone you know experiences any of the associated symptoms, drink water, rest in a cool environment, take a cool shower or bath, and seek medical attention if necessary.

People and pets alike are at risk for heat-related illnesses. Below are some tips to make sure your furry friends also stay cool this summer!

Tips for Pet Owners

  1. Never leave a pet alone in a car, even with the windows cracked
  2. Never leave a pet leashed at home unsupervised
  3. Limit your pet’s exercise and bring water while exercising your pet
  4. Limit the distance and intensity of your pet’s exercise
  5. Ensure that fresh, cool water is available at all times for your pet
  6. Ensure that air conditioning is available for your pet if left indoors

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Lifework Strategies, Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.