Beat the Heat with AWH Safety Tips
As the sweltering summer heat sweeps Lebanon, we remind everyone to take precautions against heat related incidents. So many simple measures can be taken to significantly reduce the chance of getting heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Everyone is at risk, but the elderly and the very young are most susceptible to heat and heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses can cause serious injury and even death if unattended.
Heat Safety Tips
To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high:
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen: Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed hat will keep the head cool. Sunburn affects your body′s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin. A variety of sunscreens are available to reduce the risk of sunburn. Check the sun protection factor (SPF) number on the label of the sunscreen container. Select SPF 15 or higher and follow package directions.
- Drink Plenty of Fluid: Increase your fluid intake regardless of your activity level and even if you do not feel thirsty. During hot weather, you will need to drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. This is especially true for those over 65 years of age. Avoid very cold beverages to prevent stomach cramps Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
- Replace Salt and Minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body, which are necessary for your body and must be replaced. The best way to replace salt and minerals is to drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or any work in the heat. Do not take salt tablets unless directed by your doctor. If you are on a low salt diet, ask your doctor before changing what you eat or drink
- Eat small meals and eat more often: Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat
- Slow down: Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 and 7 a.m. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
- Stay indoors when possible: If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine or consider a visit to a shopping mall for a few hours. Remember that electric fans do not cool, they simply circulate the air
- Be a good neighbor and Monitor Those at High Risk: During heat waves, check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
• infants and children up to four years of age
• people 65 years of age or older
• people who are ill or on certain medications
• people who are overweight
- Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: If you must be out in the heat, plan your activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening. While outdoors, rest frequently in a shady area
- Use Common Sense
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals; they add heat to your body
- Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car
- Bring your pets indoors with you to protect them
- Dress infants and young children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella
- Limit sun exposure during the midday hours and in places of potential severe exposure, such as beaches
- Ensure that infants and children drink adequate amounts of liquids
Give your outdoor animals plenty of fresh water, leave the water in a shady area, and consider wetting the animal down