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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Maine Health Alert Network Issues Heat Advisory

Maine Health Alert Network Issues Heat Advisory


June 9, 2008


Maine CDC Advises Caution in Heat:

Keep Cool, Drink Adequate Fluids, and Rest Frequently

With Maine heading into summer, it is important for all of us to prevent heat-related problems and to recognize the signs of heat illness early. Heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable, yet over the past 30 years more people have died in this country from heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined.

All Mainers should take some simple measures to prevent heat-related illness. However, those who are most susceptible include infants and young children, people 65 years old and older, people with a mental illness, and those who are physically ill with heart disease or high blood pressure.

These simple measures include:

Keep Cool

  • Use air conditioning to cool down or go to an air-conditioned building such as a store or a library.
  • If you don't have air conditioning in your home, open windows and shades on the shady side and close them on the sunny side to try to cool it down.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help keep cool.
  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible.
  • Wear sunscreen and a ventilated hat (e.g., straw or mesh) when in the sun, even if it is cloudy.
  • Never leave children, pets or those with special needs in a parked car, even briefly. Temperatures in the car can become dangerous within a few minutes.

Drink Fluids

  • Drink more fluids regardless of your activity level.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks, since these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
  • If you are on fluid restrictions or on diuretics, ask your doctor how much fluids you should drink.

Rest Frequently

  • Take regular breaks from physical activity – at least every hour.
  • Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.).

It is also important for us to check on our neighbors, family and friends, especially those who are at high risk for heat-related illness.

If you must be out in the heat:

  • Try to 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. A sports beverage 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 by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

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Last update: 07/20/10