Summer Heat and Your Heart
Precautions Against Heat-Related Illnesses
Benefit and Wellness Coordinator
As you take a walk outside or work around the yard this summer, it is important to stay safe when the temperatures rise. Heart patients, individuals older than 50 and those who are overweight need to take precautions. According to the American Heart Association, certain heart medications like beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics can overstress the body’s response to heat. Despite the heat, it is important to keep taking your medication. If you are not on these medications, individuals — especially over the age of 50 — still need to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Here are some tips that everyone should follow:
- The simplest trick: drink plenty of water. Many times you may be unaware that you are thirsty, so bring water with you even if you don’t think you need it. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Have a buddy if you are doing exercise outside during extensive heat, that way you have someone at your side.
- Avoid going outdoors in the early afternoon (noon to 3p.m.). This is when the sun is strongest and puts you at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses.
- Make sure to wear well-ventilated clothing, including shoes and socks.
- Wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing that is breathable (cotton or synthetic fabrics) helps to repel sweat. Add a fashionable or functional hat and sunglasses to help repel UV rays.
- You perspire primarily from your feet so having ventilated shoes and perspiration repellent socks help, along with foot powders.
- It is important to take regular breaks and rest for a few minutes in the shade or a cool place and hydrate.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen and reapply it every two hours. Sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB, broad spectrum sunscreens, help decrease your risk of getting skin cancer. To learn more about your sunscreen’s preventive measures check out skincancer.org.
These tips can be lifesaving when dealing with high temperatures. Heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are not only a danger for heart patients and the elderly but for everyone. Learn more about identifying symptoms of heat-related illnesses from our Safety Manager in his post, “Dealing with the Summer Heat”: http://bit.ly/28SJPPL