Pennsylvanians Reminded to Follow Important Safety Tips during Summer Heat Waves

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Some areas of Pennsylvania are experiencing their first excessively hot, humid, and dangerous temperatures of the summer, prompting the departments of Health and Aging to remind residents of the simple steps they can take to prevent potentially deadly heat-related illnesses.

“With more than two months of summer left, we will likely see more instances of dangerously hot and humid weather,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. “Healthy people of any age can experience heat-related illnesses, 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. Protect yourself and your loved ones from heat-related issues to help ensure you have a safe and fun summer.”

“If you have elderly family members or friends, keep an eye out for symptoms of dehydration,” said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne. “Be a good neighbor and check on older adults and persons with disabilities in your community who may need assistance keeping cool, especially if they live alone.”

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. If you or loved ones develop heat stroke symptoms, get medical assistance right away.

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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