Beat That Heat

Health providers offer tips on staying cool, outside and in.

To watch young Callum Pollock run around the Wiltshire Park playground late Wednesday afternoon, you wouldn't know the thermometer reading was nearing 90.

"He's been inside most of the day," said his mother, Morna, as she sat on the edge of a sandbox, braving the temperatures.

Fortunately, Callum could cool off with an an occasional jaunt through the park's concrete seal that has been spraying water on Upper St. Clair children for decades. But other folks don't have that luxury.

With Thursday expected to be a repeat, West Penn Allegheny Health System and St. Clair Hospital offer tips for anyone who expects to be exposed to the heat, indoors or out:

  • Pull down blinds or use other deflectors on windows to keep the heat out. If you don’t have air conditioning, open windows only on the coolest part of the house and use fans to keep the air circulating. Spend as much time indoors as possible, which could be the mall, library or community cooling center, if you don’t have air conditioning.
  • Avoid exercising during the hottest times of the day and take plenty of rest breaks. Wear light-colored and "breathable" clothes.
  • Eat light, limit alcohol consumption and drink plenty of water.
  • Do not overexert yourself if working outdoors and make sure to take breaks away from the heat. Even young people or healthy individuals who are overexposed to hot temperatures can suffer from heat exhaustion.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen if you’re outdoors for an extended period. Sunburn hampers your body in releasing excess heat.
  • Be alert to the signs of heat exhaustion, which include heavy sweating, weakness, cold or clammy skin, a weak pulse, fainting and vomiting. Apply cool, wet cloths, take sips of cool water and seek medical attention immediately if vomiting occurs.
  • Signs of heat stroke include body temperature of 105 degrees or above, hot, red or dry skin, rapid or weak pulse, shallow or rapid breathing and lack of sweat. Call 911 immediately and cool the victim as best you can with a cool bath or sponge, fan or air conditioner.


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