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DPH reminds Georgians to stay cool, hydrated and informed during high temperatures
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With summer fully underway and temperatures this week expected to be in the high 90’s throughout Georgia, the Georgia Department of Public Health is reminding Georgians to “Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated, Stay Informed” in order to prevent heat-related illnesses. 

According to a release by the DPH, remembering these three steps are important to protecting one’s health while the temperatures are as high as they are this week. 

Stay Cool

In order to stay cool during the heat, the DPH recommends wearing lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and staying in an air-conditioned place. For those without air conditioning at home, the release recommends going to a mall, public library or a friend or relative’s home to cool down. 

“Even a few hours spend in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat,” the release said. 

According to the release, while electric fans may provide comfort, they will not prevent heat-related illnesses when the temperature is so high. Instead, the DPH recommends taking a cool shower or bath to cool down. The release also recommends avoiding using heat-generating appliances like the oven or stove and avoiding hot and heavy meals which add heat to the body. 

Even if the windows are cracked open, no infant, child, adult or pet should ever be left in a parked car, the release said. If a passerby sees someone locked in a hot vehicle, they should call 911 immediately. 

According to the release, outdoor activities should be limited to the cooler morning and evening hours. The DPH recommends cutting down on exercise, but for those who must exercise it recommends taking breaks and staying hydrated. 

For those who are outdoors, the DPH says to wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to protect from the sun. According to the release, the most effective sunscreen products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels. 

Stay Hydrated

Another important step to help prevent heat-related illnesses is to remember to stay hydrated during the hot weather. 

“Drink plenty of water even before you are thirsty,” the release said. “Don’t wait until you are already thirsty.” 

The DPH also recommends avoiding sugary or alcoholic beverages, which can cause the loss of more body fluid, as well as avoiding very cold drinks, which can cause stomach cramps. According to the release, it’s also important to replace the salt and minerals lost by the body while sweating, something that drinking sports drinks can help with. 

Stay Informed 

Being informed about the heat and how to handle it is another important step in avoiding heat-related illnesses, the release said. 

The DPH recommends preparing for extreme heat ahead of time by keeping an eye on the local weather forecasts, and using the buddy system to check on one another at least twice a day for those working in extreme heat. 

Heat-related illness can cause confusion or loss of consciousness, so the DPH recommends keeping a close eye on those at greater risk for heat-related illnesses, including infants and young children, people age 65 or older, those who are overweight, those who overexert during work or exercise and those who are physically ill or take certain medication. 

For those in these categories who are at greater risk for heat-related illnesses, the DPH recommends having a friend or relative call to check in twice a day during a heat wave. 

Learning the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them is important especially during a stretch of high temperatures like this week’s, the release said. 

For more information about extreme heat and precautions to take to prevent heat-related illnesses, go to https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html.