Beat The Summer Heat


During the summer a combination of high heat and high humidity can be very dangerous.  Everyone needs to be careful, especially those at risk during these weather conditions.

Individuals at Greater Risk

  • The elderly
  • Infants, toddlers and preschool children
  • People with certain chronic illnesses, such as heart or lung conditions
  • People who are unable to move or change position by themselves
  • People taking certain medications (consult your physician) People who exercise vigorously or are involved in strenuous work outdoors for extended periods
  • Individuals who consume alcohol heavily
  • Individuals who use illicit drugs

By using a common sense approach your susceptibility to heat-related illnesses can be minimized.

How to Avoid Heat-Related Illness

  • Never leave a child in a parked car
  • Drink plenty of water and natural juices even if you don't feel very thirsty
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and cola
  • Limit your outside activities to early in the morning or evening when it is cooler
  • Wear a hat
  • Avoid going out in the blazing sun or heat when possible
  • If you must go outside, stay in the shade as much as possible
  • Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing
  • Avoid intense or moderately intense physical activity
  • Try to take it easy, and rest as much as possible
  • Take advantage of air conditioned places such as shopping malls, libraries, community centers or a friend's home
  • Try to spend some time near the lake or waterfront where it is cooler
  • Keep shades or drapes drawn and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home, but keep windows slightly open if you don't have air conditioning
  • Turn electric lights off or down low
  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically or cool down with cool, wet towels
  • Avoid using your oven
  • If you sleep outside during the day, try to sleep in the shade.  Remember, the sun moves, so try to sleep in a location that will remain shady for several hours
  • Consult your physician regarding possible side effects of your medications

Medications and Heat-Related Illness

Some medications make it harder for your body to control its temperature, while others may make it easier for your skin to burn.  If you are taking medications you may be at higher risk for heat-related illness, especially if you are doing a lot of exercise or heavy work and are not drinking enough water.  This is more true if you are taking two or more medications.  Even over the counter remedies such as antihistamines, sleeping pills or anti-diarrhea pills may increase your risk for heat-related illness.


  • Rapid breathing
  • Weakness or fainting
  • More tired than usual
  • Headache
  • Confusion

Initial Treatment

  • Call for help
  • Remove excess clothing from the person
  • Cool the person with lukewarm water, by sponging or bathing
  • Move the person to a cooler location
  • If conscious, give the person sips of cool water, not ice cold water

In an emergency, call 911