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Albemarle County Newsroom

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Stay Safe in Summer Heat
7/22/2011

With recent temperatures reaching near the 100-degree mark and above, it is very important that people play it safe and protect themselves from the potential ill effects of extreme heat.   You can become ill from the heat if your body can't compensate for it and properly cool you off. 

These are the main things affecting your body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather:

  • High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won't evaporate as quickly, which keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to. 
  • Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.

Here are some facts about which people are at greatest risk for heat-related illness and what protective actions to take to prevent illness or death:

  • People who are at highest risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases
  • But even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. 
  • Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.

You can take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:

  • Stay cool indoors. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Replace salt and minerals.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Use a buddy system.
  • Monitor people at high risk.
  • Adjust to the environment.
  • Do not leave children in cars.
  • Use common sense.
  • Drink Plenty of Fluids - Drink 2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour.
  • Keep Cool Indoors - If you can, stay in an air-conditioned area. If you don’t have air-conditioning, contact your local health department to see if there are heat-relief shelters near you.

More information:


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