Southwest Health District gives tips to prevent heat-related illness


The best defense against illness from our region’s blistering summer heat and smothering humidity is prevention, says Southwest Health District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant.

“Southwest Georgia is a great place to live, but during the summer, we need to recognize that the weather can affect our health and take appropriate precautions,” Grant stressed.

Her recommendations:

  • Drink more fluids. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Don’t wait until you are active.
  • Avoid liquids that contain alcohol or a lot of sugar, since they cause you to lose more body fluid. Avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause cramps.
  • Stay indoors in an air-conditioned place if possible. If your home isn’t air conditioned, spend time at a library, mall or other air-conditioned facility. During heat waves, check with the Emergency Management Agency or Public Health to see if heat-relief shelters are available.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature reaches the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or going to an air-conditioned area is a much better way to cool off.

“Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others,” Grant said. “Check regularly on infants and young children, people 65 and older, people who have a mental illness and those who are physically ill—especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure.”
If you must be out in the heat, she added:

  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool,
  • nonalcoholic fluids each hour.

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