Department of Health Urges Pennsylvanians to Take Safety Precautions When Outside this Summer

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy yesterday urged residents of Pennsylvania to take special precautions if they plan to spend extended periods of time outdoors this summer.

“Due to the recent spike in hot weather, as well as the air quality alert issued by the Department of Environmental Protection, we want to ensure that people know what steps to take to better protect themselves during periods of hot weather,” said Murphy. “Healthy people of any age can experience illness during periods of extreme weather, but those at greatest risk are people over 65, infants and young children, and those with heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing problems, or other chronic medical conditions.”

All Pennsylvanians are urged to follow these safety tips to avoid heat-related illnesses:

Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids;
Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar, as they can cause dehydration (loss of body fluids);
Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible – this is the number one way to protect against heat-related illness and death;
If you must be outside in the heat, limit activity to morning and evening hours, and try to rest often in shady areas;
Dress in light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses – and use a sunscreen of SPF15 or higher;
Check on those who might be more at risk from high temperatures like infants, children, or older individuals; and
Never leave your children or pets inside vehicles.
The most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. Warning signs include extreme body temperature, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, and confusion. Anyone developing heat stroke symptoms should seek immediate medical assistance.

Heat exhaustion symptoms are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.

For more information, visit or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).

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