Tips for staying safe during a heat wave as the temperature rises

More than 600 people die each year from heat-related complications in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Here's more from Ready.gov on what you need to do to stay safe:

WARNINGS
Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

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PREPARE
Find places in your community where you can go to get cool.
Keep your home cool by doing the following:
Cover windows with drapes or shades.
Weather-strip doors and windows.
Use window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
Add insulation to keep the heat out.
Use attic fans to clear hot air.
Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.

Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness.

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SAFETY
Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day.
Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.
If you're outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If you or someone you care for is on a special diet, ask a doctor how best to accommodate it.
Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees, as this could increase the risk of heat-related illness.
Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.
Avoid high-energy activities.
Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.

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ILLNESS

Know the signs of heat-related illness and the ways to respond to it:

HEAT CRAMPS
Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs
Actions: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.
HEAT EXHAUSTION
Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or fainting
Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
HEAT STROKE
Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness
Actions: Call 911 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.

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Animal experts are reminding pet owners about keeping their pets safe in the heat.



  • Check the local forecast in your area. If you know a heatwave is coming, you might want to postpone any outdoor activities.
  • Stay indoors during the hottest time of the day. If you do go outside, drink plenty of water.
  • Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, which will dehydrate you.
  • Wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing. Lighter colors repel sunlight.
  • Make sure you're eating enough, but keep your meals small. You'll have consistent energy to help you throughout the day.

SEE ALSO: What is a heat wave? How heat waves form and temperatures climb
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