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Keep your cool as the temperatures start to soar

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Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated during hot summer months.

As Pennsylvanians prepare to spend more time outdoors, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine shares important tips to keep families safe in extreme heat this summer.

“We want to make sure Pennsylvania residents enjoy these warmer months but also stay safe,” Levine says in a news release. “It’s important to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet radiation and stay hydrated to prevent heat-related illnesses.”

The Department of Health recommends the following safety tips for the summer weather.

Remember to wear:

• Lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing

• A hat or visor

• Sunglasses

• SPF 15 or higher sunscreen (reapply as necessary)

To stay hydrated:

• Drink plenty of water throughout the day — don’t wait until you are thirsty.

• Outdoor workers should drink between two and four cups of water every hour.

• Avoid consuming caffeinated, alcoholic or sugary beverages.

• Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking fruit juice or sports drinks.

To safely exercise:

• Limit outdoor exercise, and stay indoors in air conditioning on hot days.

• Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

• Pace yourself when you run, walk or otherwise exert your body.

To protect others:

• Never leave children, older adults or pets behind in a vehicle.

Check on those who may be more at risk from extreme temperatures like:

• Infants and young children

• People ages 65 and older

• People with chronic medical conditions

It is also important to know the difference between heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Symptoms of a heat stroke include a high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot and dry skin, but no sweating; a rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

If you think someone is having a heat stroke, it is important to first call 911. After calling for help, get the person to a shady area and quickly cool them down by putting them in a tub of cool water or spraying them with a garden hose. You should not give the victim anything to drink, including water.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting and nausea or vomiting.

Help the person cool off and seek medical attention if symptoms are severe, symptoms last more than one hour or the victim has heart problems or high blood pressure.

Additional information on how to prepare for summer weather can be found on the Department of Health’s website at health.pa.gov.

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