Beat the heat
Here are some suggestions on how to beat the heat and what to do if the heat is getting to you.
Is overheating dangerous?
Yes! People die each year from heat-related illnesses. When your body's temperature control system is unable to cool you off you can suffer from brain and other organ injury. When it is humid it is even harder for your body to cool itself down. That is why the type of heat we've been having here is Portland is so dangerous.
What is the best way to beat the heat?
- Drink lots of fluids. Cool (not cold) water is best. You should drink 2-4 glasses per hour.
- Avoid alcohol, coffee or too much soda because these can make you more dehydrated.
- Replace salt and minerals with sports drinks if you are out exercising. Talk to your doctor if you are on a special low salt diet first.
- Stay in the shade when outdoors if possible.
- Wear lightweight, light colored clothes and a wide brimmed hat. Wear sunscreen. Use at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15. It is best to use sunscreen on a daily basis even if your plans are not to spend the entire day outside. Putting it on first thing in the morning is a good way to remember. Reapply often if outdoors.
- Stay indoors. Air conditioning is the best way to stay cool. If you don't have air conditioning at home, try the mall or public library. Fans can help cool you down, but if the temperature is over 90° you are still at risk for a heat related illness. Take a cool shower or bath.
How do I keep my kids from getting sick from the heat?
Keeping them out of the sun, especially in the hottest hours of the day, 10am-2pm, is best. Do not leave them in parked cars. Dress kids in light colored and lightweight clothing and hats. Give them plenty of fluids like water and juices.
What are the warning signs?
Warning Signs and what to do
- very high temperature (103° or more) • call 911
- red, hot and dry skin that is not sweating • get the person into the shade
- dizziness, nausea, confusion • cool the person with cool water
- throbbing headache • check their temperature
- unconsciousness • do not give alcohol
Warning signs and what to do
Call your doctor if they are not better in an hour or the person's pulse is weak or they are having trouble breathing.
- heavy sweating, pale • cool, non-alcoholic beverages
- tired, weak, dizzy • cool shower, bath, or sponging
- headache • air-conditioning
- nausea, vomiting
These are caused by the loss of salt and minerals when you sweat. Your muscles in your belly, legs or arms cramp up because of the low salt level. Cramping may also be a sign of heat exhaustion. The best thing to do is rest in a cool place, drink juice or sports beverages, and call your doctor if they don't get better in an hour.