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Health, Safety Tips for Steamy Summer Heat

  • Category: General
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Boulder Community Health
Health, Safety Tips for Steamy Summer Heat

Based on National Weather Service records, the average hottest days of the year take place between July 17-22. During those dates, 90-degree temperatures are quite common.  

To prepare for those steamy days, when heat illness is possible, be aware of these tips for you, your loved ones and your pets.  


  • Drink liquids. BCH hospitalist Jeff Carter, MD recommends each person should drink between two and four liters of liquid a day. Seniors and children may need to consume more beverages. Hear from Dr. Carter at 

  • Drink water before getting thirsty. 

  • If leaving the house, take water with you. Bring water for your pet, even for short trips outside. 

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugar — which can be dehydrating. 


  • Avoid the rays during the mid-to-late afternoon – typically the hottest hours of the day.  

  • Seek shade.  

  • Athletes, people 65 and over, infants, children, individuals with chronic conditions, low-income households and outdoor workers are especially at risk of heat-related illness. 

  • Never leave a baby, child, adult or pet locked in a car, even for a few minutes. 

  • Dress to protect yourself from the sun by wearing a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection.  

  • Shift outdoor activities and exercise to cooler times in the morning or evening.

Slap on the sunscreen  

  • Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ to all skin not covered by clothing. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.  

  • The American Academy of Dermatology says that most adults need one ounce of sunscreen to fully cover the body.  

  • Using spray sunscreen? Don’t forget to rub it in. Improper sunscreen application means missing out on the benefits and not being properly protected.  

  • The tops of your feet, neck, ears, lips and head should feel the sunscreen love, too.  

  • Check your sunscreen for expiration date.  

  • Sunburn is a sign of skin damage. With every sunburn, you increase your risk for all types of skin cancer. 

Respect the water  

  • Drowning is the leading cause of preventable death in children ages 1 through 4. Always watch children near water and never leave a child unattended.  

  • Teach children how to swim.  

  • Take the Pool Safely Pledge 

  • If you’re worried that a child swallowed too much water, go to the Emergency Department for observation if excessive coughing or difficulty breathing is present.  

  • Water reflects the sun’s rays so sunburn can happen faster than you think.  

  • Drain standing water around your home. Mosquitoes will breed and multiply in the stagnant water found in clogged gutters, empty wheelbarrows, and unused flowerpots.  

  • Up to 30% DEET will protect you from mosquitoes, ticks and West Nile Virus. Additional ways to protect yourself this mosquito season.  

Air conditioning = the most effective way to stay safe indoors during heat emergencies 

  • Fans are not effective at lowering body temperatures. 

  • Movie theaters, malls and museums are good places to cool down. Any public space with air conditioning will offer safety.  

  • Avoid using an oven during the day — it makes your home hotter. 

  • Close blinds or block sunny windows.

Use your best judgment

  • Even with windows rolled down in a parked car, leaving children, pets, or people with mobility issues in a vehicle during extreme heat is unsafe. 

  • Avoid activities that require a lot of effort and energy or carry a higher risk of injury. Rest often and pace yourself. 

  • Injuries can happen more often during heat emergencies when it may be harder to think clearly. If you’re hiking, biking, running or climbing, grab a first-aid kit before you leave home.  

  • Pavement and metal surfaces can cause severe burns in extreme heat.

All of the above can help to prevent heat-related illness.  

If you notice these symptoms of heat exhaustion, seek medical attention: heavy sweating; weakness; muscle cramping; fainting (passing out); nausea or vomiting; pale, cold and clammy skin; very high body temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher); fast or rapid heartbeat; dizziness; and/or confusion.  

A heat stroke requires immediate attention and can cause permanent disability or death unless it is treated immediately.  

Signs include very high body temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit); skin appears hot to the touch or is red; fast, strong pulse; losing consciousness; and/or nausea/vomiting.  

For heatstroke, call 911.  

(Source: Boulder County Public Health)