What is a heat index chart? How do we stay safe in summer heat? Here’s some helpful advice.
As the days begin to shorten,
the heat begins to scorch them.
Heat Safety Tips
Heat is the top weather-related killer, causing more fatalities than lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined. To practice heat safety, review this check list:
Drink More Fluids
- Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Bring a reusable water bottle with you to maintain hydration. If you’re at work, you could also bring a pitcher and glass and fill it every morning.
- If you’re older, be especially careful to drink fluids because the amount of water retained by the body decreases with age.
- Avoid salt tablets if possible. If your doctor has you on water pills, ask him or her how much you should drink.
- Don’t drink liquids with dehydrating caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. Avoid very cold drinks.
- At family events and reunions, bring a cooler of cool drinks.
- Cut back on exercising; if you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.
Keep Your Body Cool
- Dress in lightweight light-colored clothing and sun-reflective shirts. Wear loose clothing.
- Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Keep a stash of hats on hand for friends and family!
- According to the CDC, fans may provide comfort but they do not prevent heat-related illnesses when the temperature is in the high 90s. Take a cool shower or bath, or move to an air-conditioned place to cool off.
- Stay in the shade, especially between 11 A.M. and 3 P.M.
- Avoid strenuous activities during the heat of the day.
- NEVER leave anyone in closed, parked vehicle, even with the windows down.
- To feel cooler, eat cooler. Reduce your protein intake.
- Open your house to the breeze after sunset and leave it open until dawn.
- In the early morning, draw the shades before the temperature starts to rise.
Protect Yourself From the Sun
- Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn makes it difficult for your body to dissipate heat.
- As well as a hat and sunglasses, wear sunscreen SPF 15 or higher. The most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB” on their labels.
- Be aware of heavy sweating, hot and dry skin, rapid pulse, pale or clammy skin, and cramps in your leg or abdomen muscles. All could be signs of heat disorder.
- If you are older, it’s wise to keep medical information readily available, including phone numbers of health care providers and copies of your prescription and health insurance cards.
To see guidelines on how to respond to heat disorder symptoms, go to the NOAA Website.
Heat Index Values
A heat index is a measure of how hot it feels when humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.
The NOAA will issue heat alerts based on Heat Index Values.
The combination of high temperature and high humidity reduces your body’s ability to cool itself.
For example, the heat you feel when the actual temperature is 90ºF with a relative humidity of 70% is 106ºF. When the heat index is high, drink plenty of water and spend the midday hours someplace cool!