DHHS → MeCDC → Environmental and Community Health → EOHP → Heat-related Illness → Keep Cool, Drink Fluids, Lie Low
Keep Cool, Drink Fluids, Lie Low
When it is hot outside, there are 3 things everyone needs to do.
1. Keep Cool
- Use air conditioning in your home to cool down or go to an air-conditioned place such as a store, public library, restaurant, or cooling center. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
- Keep windows and shades closed during the day, especially on the sunny side of your home. Open them up at night to let cooler air in.
- Take a cool shower or bath.
- Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is hotter than the mid-90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Stay out of the sun as much as possible.
- Wear sunscreen, a ventilated hat (a hat made out of straw or mesh), and sunglasses when outside, even if it is cloudy.
- Never leave anyone, especially children, pets, or those with special needs in a parked car, even for a few minutes. Temperatures in the car can become dangerous very quickly.
2. Drink Fluids
- Drink more fluids even if you are not very active.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks, since these drinks can dry your body out.
- If you are on fluid restrictions or taking water pills or diuretics, ask your doctor how much fluid you should drink.
3. Lie Low
- Take regular breaks from any physical activity – at least every hour.
- Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
If you must be out in the heat follow the tips below.
- Try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours unless there is an air quality advisory in your area that recommends limiting activity during these times.
- Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.
- Rest often in shady areas – at least every hour.
- Protect yourself from the sun and heat by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Put on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. The most effective products say “broad spectrum” or "UVA/UVB protection" on the label.