Summer is the perfect time to get out of the house and spend time outside, soaking up the fresh air and essential vitamin D from the sun. However, spending too much time in hot weather can be dangerous for everyone and lead to detrimental health risks.
While the elderly, children and people with pre-existing medical conditions are most at risk, everyone can be affected by a heatwave, so it’s important to know how to stay safe and protect yourself and others.
Extreme heat is the most dangerous type of severe-weather event in the U.S., but we can take action to prepare our loved ones and communities for extreme heat events and related power outages. Learn what to do before, during, and after to help keep everyone safe and healthy.
Who Is Most at Risk During a Heatwave?
A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:
- older people – especially those over 75 and female
- those who live on their own or in a care home
- people who have a serious or long-term illness, including heart or lung conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease or some mental health conditions
- people who are on multiple medicines may make them more likely to be badly affected by hot weather
- those who may find it hard to keep cool – babies and the very young, the bed-bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions or with Alzheimer’s disease
- people who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who live in a top-floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside
How Heat Affects the Body
During a heatwave, the body’s reaction increases the blood flow to carry the heat toward the surface. It results in sweat on the skin. As the sweat evaporates, the body starts to cool down. However, the hotter it is, the more sweat the body produces, which can lead to dehydration.
Sweat evaporation can be restricted by clothes or the humidity in the air, which means the body can’t regulate its temperature properly. If the body gains more heat than it can lose, its control mechanisms will eventually fail, leading to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
What You Can do to Prevent Becoming Ill in a Heatwave
With the right precautions, you can minimize heat and sun exposure risks and stay safe during the summer when you’re out and about. Here are some tips.
- Check the weather forecast to help you plan.
- Avoid staying in the sun during the hottest part of the day.
- Avoid heavy physical activity during hot weather.
- Spend more time in the shade than in direct sunlight.
- Apply high sun protection factor.
- Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing and something to cover your head.
- Wear sunglasses to minimize UV exposure to the eyes.
- Consume plenty of water throughout the day.
What to Eat During a Heatwave
Fruit and vegetables with high fluid content can help with hydration levels. These include:
How to Stay Hydrated During a Heatwave
There are several smart ways to stay hydrated during a heatwave.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid sugary, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. Avoid icy beverages because they can cause stomach cramps.
Replace Salt and Minerals
Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from your body that need to be replaced. A sports drink or a snack can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
Keep Pets Hydrated
Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets and leave the water in a shady area.
If your doctor limits the amount of water you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot. If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.
Contact Insurance Enterprise for Group Health Insurance
If you have questions about group health insurance and need health insurance quotes, contact Insurance Enterprise at 888-350-6605. Speak to a licensed agent and find out more about how you can get an affordable health insurance plan.