Stay Safe in a Heat Wave

Don't ignore the signs of heat stroke.

With temperatures expected to be near 90 degrees over the next couple of days, Mayor Tom Menino sent out a press release reminding residents to take precautions to stay safe during this unseasonably hot weather. And yes, we get these same warnings every single summer, but that doesn’t make them any less important.

Most public pools aren’t even open for the season yet. But you can lounge at a swanky hotel pool—for a fee. We will be back to more seasonable temps in the 70s next week, but for the next couple of days it’s important to stay hydrated and find some air conditioning. “Summer temperatures are here early,” Mayor Menino said in a press release. “During hot weather like this, it’s important to stay cool and hydrated, and to keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable residents.”

Here are tips form the Mayor’s Office:

Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses and injuries, but everyone should remember to limit their activities during very hot weather, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol. When outdoors, limit strenuous activity, wear sunscreen and loose, light-colored clothing, and rest often in cool, shady areas. Additional measures to beat the heat include avoiding cooking, taking cool showers or baths, and staying in air conditioned areas whenever possible. Boston Centers for Youth and Families neighborhood centers, including pools, will be open regular hours. View the BCYF facilities and pool hours.

Yes, it's that hot out. Photo via Shutterstock.

Yes, it’s that hot out. Photo via Shutterstock.

“In temperatures like these, we can still get outside and enjoy our city, but everyone should be aware of the risks and signs of heat stroke,” said Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “Make sure to drink plenty of water, and find a cool, shady spot to rest if you find yourself getting too hot.”

So what are the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke exactly? According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs of heat exhaustion include feeling faint or dizzy, nausea, heavy sweating, weak heartbeat, low blood pressure, low-grade fever, heat cramps, headache, fatigue, and dark-colored urine. The most surprising symptom is cool, pale skin, because you’d think skin would be hot.

If you have heat exhaustion or suspect it, try these tips. If you do nothing, it can turn into heatstroke, which is potentially fatal.

  • Get the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned location.
  • Lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly.
  • Loosen or remove the person’s clothing.
  • Have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine.
  • Cool the person by spraying or sponging with cool water and fanning.
  • Monitor the person carefully. Heat exhaustion can quickly become heatstroke.