DOH Offers Tips to Stay Safe during Summer Heat Waves

HARRISBURG – As summer and hotter weather set in, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is offering some common-sense tips to stay healthy during heat waves.

“Hotter and more humid weather is expected this week across much of Pennsylvania, but many people don’t understand just how dangerous the heat can be,” Secretary of Health Michael Wolf said. “Healthy people of any age can have heat-related illnesses.”

Adults over 65, children under four, people with existing medical problems such as heart disease, and those without access to air conditioning are at greatest risk of developing heat-related illness.

Pennsylvanians are encouraged to follow these tips during heat waves:

  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
  • Check on high-risk individuals often and remind them to drink enough water.
  • Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as well as liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and limit outdoor activities to early morning or evening hours when temperatures are usually cooler.
  • Never leave children or pets in vehicles.
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas as much as possible to cool down and prevent heat-related illnesses.

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 develop symptoms of heat stroke, 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 and hot weather safety tips, visit

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