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Health experts recommend planning ahead for summer heat

Staying hydrated and taking frequent breaks can help fend off heat illness

File photo of people walking outside
File photo of people walking outside (Courtesy of Cleveland Clinic News Service)

If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors on a hot day, it’s important to plan ahead.

Soaring temperatures and high humidity increase risk for heat illness.

Tom Waters, MD, an emergency department physician at Cleveland Clinic recommends hydrating at home.

“You want to stay hydrated. That’s one of the most important things. You don’t want to hydrate once you become thirsty or hot, you want to hydrate before you even get outside,” he said.

When outside in high heat, you’ll want to take frequent breaks.

Dr. Waters suggests seeking shade or air conditioning every 30 to 60 minutes.

He also advises taking it easy and doing less strenuous activity.

So, if you’re out running or exercising in the heat – shorten the duration and intensity of your workout.

And remember – a mask is recommended in public to reduce the spread of coronavirus, regardless of weather conditions.

Wearing a mask in the heat won’t hurt you, but if you find that your mask is more uncomfortable in hot temperatures, you’ll want to build breaks into your day, where you can safely take it off.

“Frequent breaks both from the mask and from the heat are a good thing to do,” said Dr. Waters. “People with breathing problems such as asthma, emphysema, COPD – they may find it more difficult to wear that mask, so they’re going to have to plan for the heat and come up with a strategy on number one – how to stay out of it, number two – what to do if they are exposed to it.”

When taking a break from your mask, Dr. Waters said to be sure that you’re six feet away from others to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.