SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Extreme heat is impacting much of the United States this summer with temperatures forecast to climb above 100 degrees from California to Arizona and Texas to Missouri.
Family Nurse Practitioner Taylour Emery with Missouri Ozarks Community Health gave some tips for those who are spending their time outside during these high temperatures.
According to Emery is important to remain hydrated while spending time outside. It’s also important to avoid sugary drinks and alcohol because these fluids can cause your body to become dehydrated.
People should take precautions to prevent sunburn which can make you dehydrated and can impact your ability to cool down. If you are going to be outside for more than 30 minutes you should use sunscreen that’s SPF 15 or higher.
Wear light-colored clothing
If you have to be outside during the heat, doctors suggest wearing light and loose clothing. Bright clothing is the best choice since it reflects the sun’s rays while darker clothing absorbs the heat.
Don’t leave children/pets inside hot cars
Emery also stated it’s extremely important to never leave your child or pet inside a hot car. About 38 children die each year from vehicular heatstroke, according to KidsAndCars.org and NoHeatStroke.org. Heatstroke is the leading cause of death in vehicles (excluding crashes) for those 14 and younger. Even on days with mild temperatures the heat inside a closed vehicle can reach dangerous levels within an hour.
Stay indoors if you can
If temperatures are extremely high it’s recommended to try to stay indoors as much as you can. Air-conditioned environments are the strongest protective factor for heat-related illness, much more effective than electric fans. If you must be outside for work or other activities, wear a hat, take breaks, and seek shade from trees and buildings.
If you don’t take proper precautions during extreme heat, you can begin to experience symptoms of heat-related illness. Common heat-related illnesses include:
- Heat stroke
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat cramps
- Heat rash
Heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke if left untreated, and both forms of heat-related illness can cause death or permanent disability without proper medical care. Warning signs of heat stroke include:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees)
- Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache