When thermometers climb over 90 degrees and humidity levels are high, the dog days of summer could turn dangerous for some people, particularly the elderly, young children and those who are ill. Extreme temperatures are the most deadly weather events in the United States, consistently killing more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Here are some tips from the American Red Cross to keep you, your family and your pets safe in extremely hot weather:
- Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
- If you do not have access to air conditioning, or if the power is out due to thunderstorms (which often accompany heat waves), go to a mall, movie theater, or cooling shelter if needed. Check with your local municipality to find a cooling center near you.
- Eat small meals and eat more often.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Postpone outdoor games and activities.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
- Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
- Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.