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Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself against heat-related illnesses:
- Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Take a cool shower or a bath. Consider a trip to the mall or a local library or visit a friend with air conditioning. Spending at least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly reduces the number of heat-related illnesses.
- When temperatures reach the upper 90s or above, a fan may not prevent heat-related illness.
- Drink plenty of fluids (2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour.) To replace salt and minerals lost from sweating, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or when you have to work outside. However, talk to your doctor first if you're on a fluid-restricted diet or medications, or on a low-salt diet.
- Avoid sunburn and wear light clothing. Sunburn limits your body's ability to keep itself cool and causes loss of body fluids. Use sunscreen with a higher SPF. Lighter-weight clothing that is loose fitting and light colored is more comfortable during extreme temperatures. Use a hat to keep the head cool.
- Give your body a break as the heat wave can be stressful on your body. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
Never leave children or pets in cars.
- Temperatures inside a car with can reach over 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.
- Use the "buddy system" if you're working outside. If youre working outside and suffer a heat-related illness, you could become confused or could lose consciousness. Therefore, Make sure someone else knows of you plans.
For more information about heat-related illnesses, visit the Virginia Department of Healths website at