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MSD Manual

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Ways to Help Prevent Heat Disorders

Ways to Help Prevent Heat Disorders

  • Ensure adequate ventilation or air-conditioning during heat waves, particularly for people who are very old or very young.

  • Avoid leaving children in automobiles in hot weather, particularly with closed windows.

  • Avoid strenuous exertion in hot environments and poorly ventilated spaces.

  • Avoid inappropriately heavy, insulated clothing.

  • If exertion in heat is unavoidable, wear loose-fitting clothing made from fabrics that breathe, take frequent breaks, use a fan, and drink every few hours regardless of thirst.

  • If 2% or more of body weight is lost during exercise or work, drink extra fluids.

  • If 4% or more of body weight is lost during exercise or work, limit activity for 1 day.

  • If large amounts of water are drunk, consume salts in fluids or food.

  • If prolonged exertion in heat is unavoidable, starting 10 to 14 days before maximum exertion is required, begin with moderate activity done for about 15 minutes a day, slowly increasing the intensity of the activity and the time spent doing it.