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Tips to beat the heat

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

All right. With the threat of heat in mind, we want to share three tips to help keep you safe.

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

Tip No. 1 is maybe a little obvious. Keep your body as cool as possible. That means staying hydrated, avoiding heavy physical activity and staying at home with the AC or, if you don't have one, finding a local cooling center.

PAUL SCHRAMM: That might be something like a community center, a public library.

SHAPIRO: Paul Schramm is a health scientist in the CDC's climate and health program.

SCHRAMM: Even some places of business, such as a coffee shop, a movie theater or a mall, might operate as a cooling center.

SUMMERS: Tip two - stay informed. Check your local news for weather updates, and watch out for heat alerts.

SHAPIRO: And know the symptoms of different heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion.

RENEE SALAS: You can feel weak, dizzy, nauseous, even vomit. You can faint and look pale. Now, whenever you have any concern for this, you always need to immediately begin to cool yourself and seek medical care.

SHAPIRO: Doctor Renee Salas is an emergency medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. She says left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into heatstroke.

SALAS: With heatstroke, your body actually starts being unable to sweat. So instead, you're red-hot and dry. And a really bad sign is confusion or even passing out because it means your brain isn't able to work the way that it should.

SUMMERS: And finally, know that some folks might be at greater risk than others. Typically, that includes kids, the elderly or people who have certain health problems. Salas says that certain drugs can also make people more vulnerable.

SALAS: For example, drugs for blood pressure, like diuretics or a medication called an ACE inhibitor. Medications like that automatically make individuals more at risk for heat-related illness.

SHAPIRO: These tips were adapted from reporting on NPR's Life Kit podcast. You can listen to the full episode on how to beat the heat at npr.org/lifekit. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michael Levitt
Michael Levitt is a news assistant for All Things Considered who is based in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Political Science. Before coming to NPR, Levitt worked in the solar energy industry and for the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. He has also travelled extensively in the Middle East and speaks Arabic.
Justine Kenin
Justine Kenin is an editor on All Things Considered. She joined NPR in 1999 as an intern. Nothing makes her happier than getting a book in the right reader's hands – most especially her own.