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Posts Tagged ‘Heat Index’

Beat the Summer Heat! By Our “Keeping Cool in the Air Conditioned Pharmacy” Student Pharmacist, Katy Schafer.

Most of us are glad to finally see the temperature rising! The first official day of summer was Saturday, June 21, but the heat arrived well before summer did!

Summer sun is lots of fun, but the heat can also be dangerous. Here are some quick facts about warm weather and ways to beat the heat and stay safe in the upcoming extreme temperatures.

What is a heat index?

The heat index is a number in degrees Fahrenheit that tells you how hot it actually feels outside once humidity is added to the air temperature. For example, when the air temperature is 85 degrees, it might actually feel more like 90 or 95 degrees depending on how humid it is outside. The humidity can make a huge difference in how much you sweat and how you feel!

The heat index was designed to work in shady, light wind conditions, so exposure to full sun can increase the heat index by up to 15 degrees!

Heat Disorders:

Heat can cause a variety of different problems. They can be broken down into four general categories:

  1. Sunburn – Skin redness and possible swelling.
  2. Heat Cramps – Painful spasms in the leg and abdominal muscles along with heavy sweating.
  3. Heat Exhaustion – Heavy sweating, weakness, cold and clammy skin, and sometimes vomiting.
  4. Heat Stroke – High body temperatures, usually above 106 degrees. The skin will be hot and dry and your heart will beat very fast. Some people will pass out.

Heat Stroke is a severe medical emergency! If you or someone you know is experiencing a heat stroke, call 911 or emergency medical services immediately. Get the person to a cooler place and remove clothing if you can. Do not give them water! If they are unconscious, they won’t be able to swallow and it could cause them to choke.


Preventing heat disorders is all about planning ahead. Here are some tips to prevent heat disorders and dehydration:

  1. Avoid the heat. If you know it’s going to be too hot outside, stay indoors as much as possible. Try to spend time in an air conditioned space if you can. Just two hours a day in air conditioning can greatly reduce the risk of heat disorders. If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, malls or other public places would be a good option to spend time when it is very hot.
  2. Dress for the heat. Wear loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Lightweight, light-colored clothes reflect heat and sunlight, which will help you stay cool. Try to avoid sunburns as they prevent your skin from cooling itself.
  3. Drink for the heat. Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. However, if you have heart or kidney disease and are on a fluid-restricted diet, talk to your doctor before you increase your fluid intake.
  4. Don’t drink in the heat. Avoid alcohol and caffeine–both of these constrict blood vessels in the skin and keep your body from releasing heat. They can also cause dehydration.
  5. Living in the heat. Reschedule strenuous activities like running, biking, or yard work when it heats up. The best times for these are early morning or late evening hours. Cool baths and showers can also help. Do not leave children or pets in closed vehicles! Temperatures in a car can reach 140-190 degrees in as little as 20 minutes.

If you have any questions about heat disorders or other tips on prevention, stop in or give us a call! Have a great summer!