Health Tips for Coping With Extreme Heat

How to stay safe if you’re going outside in triple-digit temperatures.,

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Health tips for coping with extreme heat.

The top priority, according to Dr. Maria Raven, is to hydrate.
The top priority, according to Dr. Maria Raven, is to hydrate.Credit…Juan Arredondo for The New York Times
  • July 16, 2021, 10:04 a.m. ET

Dr. Maria Raven, chief of emergency medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, offers some tips for staying safe if you are going to go outside in the heat.

  • Give yourself time to acclimate: Dr. Raven said it takes a week or two to get used to extreme heat. Increase the amount of time you spend outdoors each day gradually, if you can, by about 20 percent.

  • Go outside in the morning or evening: Even a five- or 10-degree temperature drop can make a big difference.

  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: If you’ve got heat exhaustion, you’ll be sweating profusely, and you may feel a little nauseated. Your skin may be red and hot to the touch, as if you have a fever. If your body approaches heat stroke, which is severe enough to require medical attention, you will stop sweating, and your core temperature will elevate quickly.

  • Know what to do if you’re suffering from heat-related illness: The top priority, Dr. Raven said, is to hydrate. Drink water. You can also use ice packs (in the groin or armpits) and sit near a fan if possible.

  • Don’t push yourself, or anyone else, past comfort: “It can be a badge of honor to go and work out when it’s really hot, but it’s not worth it,” Dr. Raven said. That includes student athletes and employers. It’s crucial to give everyone who is outside in the heat time to rest and drink water.

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