Stay Safe in a Heat Wave
Heat waves are a serious threat to anyone, but older adults are particularly vulnerable. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones during a heat wave.
Drink plenty of water or other liquids as long as your healthcare professional says that it’s okay for you to do so. Avoid drinking excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol in hot weather. Some people are more comfortable eating small, light meals than large meals with heavier foods in the heat.
As much as possible, remain in air-conditioned rooms. Closing window blinds and shades that face the sun will help keep interior rooms cooler and lower air conditioning costs. If you want to take a short outdoor walk, do so in the very early morning or in the evening before dark when temperatures are lower.
If you have to go out, protect yourself from the sun, especially between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm when sun exposure is at its peak. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 – or higher if recommended by your doctor, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. Choose light-colored, lightweight clothing that fits loosely.
Monitor the weather forecast daily during the late spring, summer, and early fall months so you know what to expect. Understand key hot weather forecast terms. The source for these definitions is the National Weather Service.
- Heat advisory: A heat advisory means that people can be affected by heat if precautions are not taken. It is usually issued about 12 hours before the forecast calls for the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 100° or higher for at least 2 days, and nighttime air temperatures will not drop below 75°.
- Excessive heat watch: This announcement is issued to alert people 1-2 days in advance to prepare for the possibility of an excessive heat warning.
- Excessive heat warning: This warning is issued when temperatures are dangerously high – 105° or higher for at least 2 days and nighttime air temperatures will not drop below 75°.
Don’t let your guard down when temperatures are soaring. Exposure to excessive heat can lead to serious health conditions, so it’s important to protect yourself and older adults in your family.