Cooler Dog Days

Reprinted from PN August 2012

Extremely high or unusually hot temperatures can affect your health. Most vulnerable are people who have a chronic medical condition. Tips include staying out of the direct sun and keeping well hydrated. What else should you do?

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These “dog days of summer” can be brutally hot, but there are things you can do to stay cool.

Extremely high or unusually hot temperatures can affect your health. On average, 675 deaths from extreme heat events occur each year in the United States.

Most vulnerable are people who are elderly, homeless or poor; those who work or exercise outdoors; infants and children; and individuals with a chronic medical condition.

Photo by Curt Beamer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises these precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. 

Stay Cool

- Stay in air-conditioned buildings.

- Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.

- Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.

- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

- Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.

Stay Hydrated

- Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to do so.

- Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside. 

- Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.

Stay Informed

- Check your local news for extreme-heat warnings and safety tips.

- Keep your friends, family and neighbors aware of weather and heat safety information.

Additionally, learn the signs and first aid response for heat-related illness. Warning signs and symptoms vary but may include:

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms  

- Heavy sweating

- Weakness

- Skin cold, pale, and clammy

- Weak pulse

- Fainting and vomiting

      What You Should Do

- Move to a cooler location.

- Lie down and loosen your clothing. 

- Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible. 

- Sip water. 

- If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.

Heat Stroke Symptoms 

- High body temperature (above 103°F)

- Hot, red, dry or moist skin 

- Rapid and strong pulse

- Possible unconsciousness

          What You Should Do

- Call 911 immediately — this is a medical emergency.

- Move to a cooler environment. 

- Reduce body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath. 

- Do NOT give fluids.

 For more information, visit 


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