Weekly Feature

2018-07-05 / Editorials

Tips to stay cool during the summer heat

This past weekend, the temperatures reached in the 90s, and many people could feel the heat by simply sitting outside for more than five minutes. When temperatures rise in the summer, it’s important to be cautious and prevent heat exhaustion or other issues.

“The most important point I can stress is that you should never leave a child, adult or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day, even with the windows cracked,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “That is a recipe for a potentially disastrous outcome.”

“Anyone can become dehydrated. Those most vulnerable are the elderly, people who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition,” said the Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.” And it’s easy to underestimate how seriously heat can affect people. During days of higher than normal temperatures, individuals should try their best to keep their body temperature cool.

According to the Erie County Department of Health, here are some tips:

Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, malls and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.

If you are outside, find shade. Wear sunglasses and a hat wide enough to protect your face.

Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF30. Apply it generously at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply it every 2 hours — even on a cloudy day.

Drink plenty of fluids (preferably water) to stay hydrated. This does not include alcohol which will further dehydrate you. Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water.

Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees. You could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort but do not reduce body temperature.

Avoid high-energy activities.

Check yourself, family members and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.

The summer is the perfect time to spend as much time outside as possible. There are also tons of events happening and crowds of people can make the heat more intense. Residents should be mindful of staying hydrated while enjoying the sun.

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