Summer won’t officially make its appearance this year until June 21, but it is already hot. With the National Weather Service predicting temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s in some parts of the state — and even triple digits in the Midlands — this week, DHEC urges you to take precautions.
Whether you are out exercising or simply traveling to the grocery store to shop, take steps to protect yourself and others from possible heat-related illnesses. It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. Children’s body temperatures warm at a rate three to five times faster than an adult’s.
What can be done to prevent heat-related illnesses?
Heat-related deaths are preventable. The best answer is to stay in an air-conditioned area. When you can’t do that, consider these tips:
Drink lots of water. If you are doing an outdoors activity, drink two to four glasses of at least 16 ounces of cool fluids every hour. Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar, these actually cause you to lose body fluid.
Avoid strenuous activity.
Take frequent cool showers or baths.
Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes.
Limit sun exposure.
Never, ever, leave children or pets in a parked car. Having any person or pet in a car in the summer months without air conditioning is like putting them in an oven.
South Carolina is a beautiful place to spend the summer months, but it can be quite hot at times, too. Heat can cause health problems for some of us, and can even be deadly. Stay cool and prevent heat-related health issues. It’s your best defense.
Although anyone, at any time, can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
Infants and young children
People aged 65 or older
People who have a mental illness
Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illnesses, but it can be troubling. Be aware of the warning signs of heat exhaustion, which can include heavy sweating, cramps, dizziness and nausea. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress into heat stroke.
You should seek immediate medical help if your symptoms become severe or you have heart problems or high blood pressure.
Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages (and those directed by your physician), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar. These beverages actually cause your body to LOSE more fluids! Avoid very cold drinks, too, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If you must be outside when temps are high, avoid prolonged exposure by seeking shade or air conditioning every hour or so.
Electric fans may provide comfort, but fans will not prevent heat-related illness in extremely hot weather. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place, is a much better way to cool off.
If your home does not have air conditioning, go to public places with A/C during the heat of the day – someplace like a library or shopping mall. This is especially important for those in high-risk groups like the elderly who easily suffer health effects from being in the heat for prolonged periods.