Handling the Heat

Children and the elderly are the most at-risk during the hottest days of summer. The Los Angeles County Fire Department has helpful tips on how you can stay healthy this summer and prevent heat-related illness.


How to Protect Against Heat Injuries

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Consume two to four glasses of water every hour during times of extreme heat.
  • Replace salt and minerals. Sweating removes salt and minerals from your body.  During exercise or when working outside, the best way to replenish these nutrients is to drink fruit juice or sports drinks.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen. Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.  Make sure to apply sunscreen.  Sunburns affect the ability for the body to cool itself and also cause a loss of body fluids.  When selecting sunscreen choose one with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Pace yourself. If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in hot weather, start off slowly and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Stay cool indoors. During peak hours, stay in an air-conditioned area.  If you do not have air conditioning, consider visiting a shopping mall or public library for a few hours in order to stay cool during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Schedule outdoor activities after peak hours. If you must be outside, plan your activities either before noon or in the evening when the temperatures are cooler.  If you must be out during peak hours, make sure to rest frequently in a shady area.
  • Monitor those at high risk. Individuals who are the highest risk of heat-related illnesses are infants and children up to four years of age, people who overexert during work or exercise (i.e., construction workers, etc.) and people 65 years of age or older.
  • Keep pets indoors. The heat also affects our pets; if possible, bring all pets indoors.  If pets cannot be brought inside, make sure they have plenty of water and a shaded area to help them stay cool.

Warning Signs

If you see any of the following signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim.

Signs of Heat Stroke

  • An extremely high body temperature (103*F)
  • Unconsciousness
  • Dizziness, nausea, confusion
  • Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Paleness, tiredness, dizziness