Editor's Note: This story was published in July 2017.
Temperatures are blazing this week, but you don’t have to suffer. Here are seven tips to keep cool and safe despite the heat.
1.Stay indoors. This isn’t possible for everyone, but for those who can, it’s best to stay in a place that has air conditioning or at least a fan. If you do need to be outdoors, it’s important to stay hydrated, wear light clothes, and take breaks from being in the heat. Long periods of exposure can be dangerous.
2. Just because humidity levels are high doesn’t mean you can skip out on drinking water. Don’t try for any strenuous exercise during the heat of the day. Also drink water before bed to keep yourself cool at night. Obviously, hydration is important for pets too -- they need access to plenty of water at all times, particularly in the heat.
3. Watch your diet. Stay away from overly salted foods, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, as they’ll make you dehydrated. While ice cream and popsicles may be tempting, fresh fruit like cucumbers and watermelons are cooling and healthy.
4. Inside the house, try to keep lights and electricity to a minimum. Light bulbs and electric-powered machines produce heat that will make your house even hotter.
5. Take advantage of public areas. The D.C. area has an array of cooling centers and public pools. Access to most of the cooling centers is free and public pools have free admission for those who live in the neighborhood. A list of cooling centers in Maryland can be found here while a list of cooling center sin Fairfax County, Virginia, is published here.
7. Keep an eye on elderly neighbors and loved ones. Older people are more likely to suffer heat stress, the Centers for Disease Control says -- and some may be reluctant to open windows, for safety reasons, or to turn up the A.C., if they are on a budget. Check on them frequently and encourage them to visit cooling centers. If you feel someone is in danger, call 911.