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How to stay cool during extreme heat: Tips for preventing heat-related illness

More than 1,000 people die from heat-related illness each year

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 20: Issa the dog drinks water out of the hands of their owner amid a heat wave on June 20, 2024 in the Flatbush neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough in New York City. New Yorkers, along with millions of others in parts of the Northeast, are sweltering under heat advisories this week with temperatures reaching into the 90s and humidity making some areas feel above 100 degrees. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 20: Issa the dog drinks water out of the hands of their owner amid a heat wave on June 20, 2024 in the Flatbush neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough in New York City. New Yorkers, along with millions of others in parts of the Northeast, are sweltering under heat advisories this week with temperatures reaching into the 90s and humidity making some areas feel above 100 degrees. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
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Summer fun beckons , but officials are urging residents enjoying the warm weather to remember that too much heat can be deadly.

Staying cool during the summer, especially in periods of extreme heat, is important for the health and safety of humans and animals alike. Here are some tips for keeping people and furry friends safe during scorching summer days.

Drink lots of fluids

Staying hydrated is essential during high heat, regardless of activity level. People should drink water even when they aren’t thirsty and avoid sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, Sports drinks, which replace minerals and salts lost through sweat, are also beneficial.

“The important thing is for people to prevent symptoms of heat-related illness,” said Scott Bookman, a Colorado Department of Public Health representative, in an interview with the Denver Post. “We really want to encourage people to stay indoors and be hydrating.”

Pet owners also should make sure their animal has plenty of access to fresh water, including on walks and other excursions away from home.

Stay cool

Turn on the air conditioner and stay inside. Limit outdoor activity to the early morning or late evening when the heat isn’t as extreme, the CDC says. Those who have to work outside should take frequent breaks in the shade and wear loose, light clothing. Donning a sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen is also important: a sunburn can affect the body’s ability to cool down and lead to dehydration, according to the CDC.

Watch for symptoms of heat-related illness

Knowing the warning signs of heat-related illness is essential when spending time outside. Heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion and stroke, happens when the body isn’t able to cool itself down and can be deadly. More than 1,000 people die from heat-related illnesses each year, according to the CDC.

Sweating and muscle spasms, known as heat cramps, are the first signs of heat-related illness, according to Bookman. After heat cramps, heat exhaustion may occur. The person may have a fast, weak pulse and cold and clammy skin, according to the CDC. The person may feel tired, weak and nauseated. Headaches, dizziness and passing out are also symptoms of heat exhaustion.

A body temperature of 104 degrees or higher is a symptom of heat stroke, the CDC says. The person’s skin may turn hot, red and dry or damp and their pulse may become fast and strong. Headaches, dizziness and nausea may persist and the person may become confused or pass out. Call 911 at the first sign of heat stroke and if the symptoms of heat cramps or exhaustion persist for more than an hour, the CDC says.

“If they do start to develop symptoms of heat-related illness, it’s really important to get inside, get into a cool environment and to take in fluids,” Bookman told The Post. “If there are any signs of a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.”

Watch pets for signs of heat stroke

Dogs and cats can suffer from heat stroke too, . The animal may act restless and agitated, pant and try to find shade or water. Drooling, red gums or tongue and an increased heart rate are also signs of heat stroke in pets. Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, confusion, weakness and seizures can also occur.

“We really want to emphasize how dangerous heat like this can be,” Bookman said. “People should take it seriously and do what they can to stay out of the heat.”

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