7 Ways to Stay Cool and Safe During the Heat

Temperatures are blazing again 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 be somewhere that has air conditioning or at least a fan. If you do need to be outdoors, 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 salty foods and 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. Take advantage of public areas. The D.C. area has an array of cooling centers and public pools. D.C. shares a list of cooling centers available during heat emergencies, and the city's public pools have free admission if you have a D.C. driver's license or ID card, or student ID from local universities. Contact information for details on cooling centers in Maryland is here. Cooling centers in Virginia vary by area, so check your locality's website or social media accounts. 

5. Never leave kids unattended in a vehicle. Many children have died after parents or caregivers forgot them in the back seat. Look before you lock by always checking the back seats.

6. Keep your pets safe by limiting outdoor time, walking them early in the morning or later in the evening, helping them to avoid hot pavement, and making sure they have plenty of water, says D.C.'s Humane Rescue Alliance. The organization has a list of tips here.


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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're on a budget. Check on them frequently and encourage them to visit cooling centers. If you feel someone is in danger, call 911.

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