Heat Safety Tips from The Valley Health System

Monday, July 3, 2023
woman wearing hat and sunglasses

With the excessive heat warning underway, health professionals of The Valley Health System urge all Southern Nevada residents and tourists to protect their health during the summer months, and to take immediate steps when heat illness occurs.

  • Never leave kids, pets or disabled adults in the car, even with the engine running. When the engine isn’t running, a car can heat up by 20 degrees in 10 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Check other tips at: Child Heatstroke Prevention: Prevent Hot Car Deaths | NHTSA
  • Prevent Hot Car Deaths and Look Before You Lock – Never leave a child unattended. Check your entire vehicle before locking the doors. Have your childcare provider call if your child doesn’t show up as expected. Place a personal item like your purse or workbag in the backseat to look before you lock the car and walk away. Source: Child Heatstroke Prevention: Prevent Hot Car Deaths | NHTSA
  • Stay inside during the hottest parts of the day; run your errands in the early morning or later evening.
  • If you are outside, wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing, a hat and sunscreen. Protect your feet by using sunscreen and wearing water shoes or flip flops. 
  • Cool your car as much as possible. Crack the windows for ventilation. Cover your steering wheel and car seats so they are cooler to touch. Protect your hands when touching door handles or opening/closing the trunk.
  • Some medications may cause you to be more susceptible to the heat. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself.
  • The very young and the elderly are more susceptible to heat; keep a close watch on younger children and create a communication plan with older relatives and friends so they know how to reach you in case of emergencies.
  • Protect your skin. Wear hats or use umbrellas to fend off the harsh sun rays. Replenish sunscreen to avoid sunburns. Be sure to apply sunscreen to scalps, tips of ears, tops of feet and whatever your clothes or bathing suit doesn’t cover. Don’t forget the back of your neck, arms and legs.
  • Schedule hydration breaks throughout the day. When playing outdoors, it’s important to take water breaks every 20 to 30 minutes. Because our perspiration evaporates so quickly in Southern Nevada, we may not be aware of our water loss, so set the alarm on your phone to remind you to take a drink. Always bring extra water when running errands.
  • Think before you drink. Water is the best source to rehydrate your body and, if you are actively exercising, sports beverages can help replace the salt and minerals lost during exercise. Alcohol and soda can dehydrate the body, so sip those in moderation during the summer months.  Take advantage of water-based foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes to keep hydrated. 
  • Beat the heat and stay cooler by seeking shade, wearing a hat or carrying an umbrella, placing a cold towel around your neck and behind your knees, running your wrists under cold water, sitting in front of a fan, jumping in a swimming pool or taking a cool bath or shower.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of possible heat illness:
    • Heat exhaustion:
      • muscle cramping
      • heavy sweating
      • weakness
      • cold, pale and clammy skin
      • a fast pulse
      • nausea or vomiting. 
    • What to do: immediately take steps to cool down the body and if they don’t feel better, seek immediate medical attention.
    • Heat stroke
      • a body temperature above 103 degrees
      • hot, red, dry or moist skin
      • a rapid pulse
      • confusion / altered mental status
      • possible unconsciousness.
    • What to do: Immediate medical attention required. Call 911. Take steps to cool the body but do not give the person fluids.