Published on Aug 15, 2016 by Edgar Snyder

Dog Days of Summer: Tips to Beat the Heat

The summer is in full bloom, and the bulk of hot days are just getting started. With the temperatures rising and AC blasting, there are some safety measures that you can take when it gets hot.

Follow these tips to ensure a safer and healthier summer:

Kids Will Be Kids

If you have young ones, it is important to make sure that they are prepared for the heat. If your children spend time outside during the "dog days," make sure you:

  • Slather them in sunscreen – The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher — one that is water resistance and provides broad-spectrum protection.
  • Give them protective clothing – This could be wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.
  • Keep them hydrated – Be sure they drink plenty of water before, during, and after outdoor activity — this helps to prevent dehydration.
  • Enforce "break time" – Every 20 minutes have your kids drink water and stand in the shade.

Pet Protection

Just because it’s hot outside, doesn’t mean your furry friend will want to stay inside. Here are some tips to help keep your pet safe in the sun:

  • Grooming is key – It is important to properly groom your animals, which will help keep them cool and protect their delicate skin.
  • Provide Plenty of Water – All animals need plenty of clean water available to drink. If you are on a walk, consider bringing a cup or bowl and a water bottle, so you can share your water with your pet.
  • Check the time – A rule of thumb is to keep your pets inside during peak sun hours, which is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you have to take your pal outside during these times, try to make it brief.
  • Leave them at home – You should not leave your animal in your vehicle. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, at 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can reach more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. If they can’t come with you in the store, it’s best to leave your pet at home.

Working in the Heat

While some of us will get to work indoors during the hottest hours, there are others who spend the majority of their work day in the sun at their potentially dangerous jobs. Agriculture and construction work are often named as the most deadly fields of work in PA, and this can be attributed to the nature of the work and the dangers of working in the heat.

Follow these recommendations for a safer work day:

  • Wear appropriate clothing – To avoid UV rays, workers should wear proper head gear, loose-fitting clothes, long pants, and even a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Sunscreen – Properly applying sunscreen can be the difference between sunburn — or even sun poisoning — and a tan.
  • Avoid caffeine – If you are working outside, these kinds of beverages can dehydrate you faster.
  • Water breaks – Taking appropriate work breaks and drinking plenty of water can help reduce the chances of having a heat stroke, so make sure you take time to hydrate and get some shade.

Risks of Dehydration and Heatstroke

The risk of dehydration or heatstroke is very real, and when the mercury rises, you should take extra precautions. Infants and children, the elderly, athletes, those who work outside, and people with chronic illnesses are at a higher risk for dehydration or heatstroke. If you have any elderly neighbors, you should consider making sure they are safe during these “dog days,” because they are more prone to dehydration and heatstroke and may need medical care.

Knowing the main symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke can potentially save you or your loved ones from serious repercussions:

Dehydration

  • Extreme thirst
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion in adults
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth and skin
  • Low blood pressure

Heatstroke

  • Low blood pressure
  • Fever
  • Altered mental state in adults
  • Flushed skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart beating and breathing

Be Aware

Whether you are hiking, riding your bicycle, driving a motorcycle, going for a leisurely walk in the park, or sitting on your back patio, beating the heat requires being actively aware of your body and the warning signs of heatstroke and dehydration.

Sources:
https://www.aad.org
http://www.mayoclinic.org
https://www.avma.org

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