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Take Cover When Heat Is High

Get tips on how to prevent heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heatstroke.

Heat Rash

This is more common in youngsters, but anyone can get it. Heat rash is an irritation of the skin that comes from excessive sweating. Common areas that develop heat rash are the neck, upper chest, groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases. The solution is to keep the area clean and dry. Avoid using creams because they can form a barrier keeping the area moist and hot making heat rash worse.

Dos and Don'ts for Extreme Heat

Do:

  • Drink a lot of fluids, even if you aren't thirsty.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or sugared sodas because they can make fluid leave your body faster.
  • Stay indoors if at all possible.
  • Go to a mall, movie, or friend's or relative's home if your air-conditioning goes out. See if there are heat-relief shelters nearby for the night.
  • Buy a fan to move air around, even if it's air-conditioned air. But remember, air-conditioning is best above 90 degrees.
  • Wear light-colored, loose clothing. Don't overwrap babies; put a shade over them instead.
  • If you go out, do it early or after dark.
  • Cut down on exercise. Bonanno has shortened his workouts considerably. "It's not even really cool enough in the morning," he says.
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Move slowly.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Check on elderly neighbors or relatives.
  • Give pets plenty of water or bring them inside.
  • Tune into weather broadcasts for the latest heat advisory or alert and heed it!
  • Let outside workers take more frequent breaks.
  • Wet a paper towel or hankie and drape it on your face when you come inside. Other "hot spots" to place a cool compress for quick cooling include the back of your neck, underarms, and groin area.

Don't:

  • Drink ice-cold drinks; they can cause stomach cramping.
  • Leave any people or animals in a closed car.
  • Take salt tablets unless the doctor says so.
  • Assume you are immune to heat outside just because you work in a hot environment like a bakery or pizza parlor. The damage can accumulate through the day.
  • Fanatically insist on your usual jogging or exercise routine, thinking the danger is not real.
  • Skimp on water. If you are outside a lot in even 90 degrees, you can lose a half gallon of water in 10 minutes.

Staying safe in high temperatures is relatively simple: Don't take chances when Mother Nature is turning up the heat.

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Reviewed on August 07, 2007

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