Beat the Heat this Summer

Featured, Uncategorized
June 19, 2024

Summer in Idaho means long days, playing outside, camping, floating, water parks, and more. It also means that temperatures are rising! High heat and humidity can cause dangerous conditions for kids, adults, and pets. Here at the Y, we want to make sure you have the knowledge and resources to keep your friends and family safe this summer.

What is Extreme Heat?

Extreme heat is a period of high temperatures and humidity, above 90 degrees for at least two to three days. In this weather, your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature, which can lead to sickness or even death. Extreme heat is responsible for the highest annual deaths among all weather-related hazards.

Prepare for Extreme Temperatures

The best way to beat illness is to prevent it!

Drink water early and often. The body loses water through sweat, and you need to replace it frequently. Dress in light colors. Choose fabrics that let moisture and heat escape. Dress in layers to remove outerwear as needed as the day progresses. When possible, take frequent rest breaks from any activity.

Here are some more tips to get ready for the summer.

  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat illness.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort but do not reduce body temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses. 
  • Identify places in your community where you can get cool — such as a Treasure Valley Family YMCA facility!
  • Cover windows with drapes or shades and use weather-strip on doors and windows.

Be Safe During Extreme Weather

When the temps start to rise, watch for signs of heat stress in yourself, your family, and other community members. Most of the time, a person may not realize what is happening to them until heat sickness strikes. If signs of heat sickness occur, help the victim cool off by moving them to a cool place, fanning them, or providing a cloth dipped in cool water. Give the victim sips of water to drink ONLY if he/she is conscious.

Here are some more tips to keep you safe.

  • NEVER leave people or pets in a closed car on a warm day.
  • If air conditioning isn’t available in your home, go to a cooling center.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Avoid high-energy activities or work outdoors, during midday heat, if possible.
  • Check on family members, older adults, and neighbors.

Heat-Related Illnesses

Know the signs of heat-related illnesses and ways to respond. If you are sick and need medical attention, contact your healthcare provider for advice and shelter in place. If you are experiencing a medical emergency call 9-1-1.

Heat Stroke

Signs of heat stroke include an extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F); red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness, confusion, or unconsciousness.

If you suspect heat stroke, call 9-1-1 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives. Do not give the person anything to drink.

Cramps and Exhaustion

Signs of heat cramps include muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs.          

Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, fast or weak pulse, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea, vomiting

If you have signs of heat cramps or exhaustion, go to a cooler location and cool down by removing excess clothing and taking sips of sports drinks or water. Call your healthcare provider if symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.

Get more detailed information about heat-related illnesses from the CDC and National Weather Service.

Stay Safe at the Y

We want all our great community of family and friends to stay safe this summer. Visit your nearest YMCA if you find yourself in need of a cool space. Drink lots of water and let’s have a great summer together!