With temperatures soaring, even reaching temps that have shattered global records, “beating the heat” is not what we’re going for this year. Heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke are dangerous conditions that can occur during extreme heat or prolonged exposure to high temperatures. It's critical to recognize the symptoms and take immediate action.
Heat exhaustion signs include heavy sweating, cool and moist skin, rapid pulse, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headache, and fainting. If you or someone else shows these symptoms, immediately move to a cool place, hydrate with water or sports drinks, and rest. Cooling measures like showers, cold compresses, or fans can also be helpful.
Heat stroke, a more severe condition, presents with a high body temperature (above 103°F), hot and dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness. This is a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately. While waiting for help, move the person to a cooler environment, remove excess clothing, and try to reduce their temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.
Prevention is the best way to handle heat-related illnesses. Stay hydrated, limit sun exposure during peak hours, and dress in lightweight, light-colored clothing. Understanding the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be life-saving. Stay safe and take proper precautions this summer.
Please remember, many of our visitors are tourists from other parts of the country and around the world. They are not aware of the strength of the Florida sun and the power of the heat index. The thermometer may read 90 degrees but the heat index feels like 105. Our guests may misinterpret their symptoms and not realize they are in danger of heat exhaustion
Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty. Water is the best choice, but you can also consume hydrating beverages like sports drinks or coconut water. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing made of breathable fabrics such as cotton. This helps your body to regulate its temperature and allows sweat to evaporate more easily.
Seek Shade and Limit Outdoor Activities
Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, especially during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, stay indoors in air-conditioned or well-ventilated spaces. If you must be outside, seek shade and take regular breaks in cooler areas.
Take measures to cool down your body temperature regularly. Use cooling towels, misting fans, or take cool showers. Use air conditioning, fans, or open windows to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
Check the local weather forecast and be aware of heat advisories or warnings in your area. Stay informed about heat-related news and safety guidelines issued by local authorities.
Take Care of Vulnerable Individuals
Pay special attention to infants, young children, older adults, and individuals with chronic medical conditions, as they are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Ensure they have access to a cool environment, are properly hydrated, and are dressed appropriately for the weather.
Be Cautious with Physical Activity
If you engage in physical activities or exercise, choose cooler times of the day, such as early morning or evening. Take frequent breaks, drink plenty of fluids, and listen to your body. Reduce the intensity and duration of your activities during periods of extreme heat.
Use Sun Protection
If you need to be outside, apply sunscreen with a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and use an umbrella or sunshade for additional sun protection.
Check on Others
Stay connected with family, friends, and neighbors, especially those who may be more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. Check on them regularly to ensure they are staying cool and hydrated.
Don’t Forget About Your Pets
Please remember that this heat is tough on animals as well. Pavements are very hot during the day and can burn your pet's paws. Never leave your pet in a vehicle! Temperatures inside a car can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open.
By recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and following these prevention tips, you can reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses and enjoy a safe and comfortable summer season.