How to stay safe in excessive heat

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As things really start to heat up across the state, two organizations are reminding Utahns about the precautions they should take to avoid heat-related illnesses.

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It only seems natural that if a person is going to head out and hit one of Utah’s many trails (or other outdoor activities), that he or she takes some water along. However, experts say as temperatures continue to rise, there are a few other things people should keep in mind to stay safe in the excessive heat.

“When you’re starting to get those original symptoms of heat exhaustion, you need to take action immediately,” American Red Cross of Utah Executive Director Michael Smauldon tells ABC4.

Smauldon says during extreme heat, American Red Cross often assists people who are experiencing heatstroke, many times because they don’t know the symptoms of heat exhaustion. He explains those symptoms include: “Being faint or dizzy. Cool, pale, or clammy type skin. Nausea, vomiting, rapid weak pulse, and muscle cramping.”

Smauldon says by recognizing those symptoms, people can avoid heatstroke which in severe cases, can cause death. He says when a person is out in the heat and has some of those symptoms, he or she needs to stop and find somewhere cool to rest and hydrate.

Utah State University’s extension program wants people to know the best ways to stay hydrated all summer long. Kathy Riggs breaks it down into six easy steps in her article: “Ask an Expert: Six Tips for Staying Hydrated This Summer.”

Her six steps are the following:

  1. Know the weather conditions. She says the best time to go out is in the morning or evening. However, even if temperatures are in the 70’s, drink extra water.

2. Take exercise into account. Even if it’s moderate, one should drink one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half extra cups of water.

3. Drink plenty of fluids. Choose water if and when you can.

4. Avoid caffeine. Drinks with lots of caffeine are a diuretic and dehydrate the body.

5. Eat foods with high water content. She says fruits like melon and strawberries are great and help give the body an extra boost of hydration.

6. Dress wisely. Wear cotton when possible and avoid dark colors.

Smauldon says when people are outside recreating, staying safe in the heat isn’t just about what they put in their body. He adds, “Make sure you’re wearing sunscreen when you’re out there having fun.”

Again, the best way to stay safe during this excessive heat is for a person to just drink more water than he or she does on a regular basis.

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