Keeping your heart healthy in the heat

American Heart Association shares who is at risk in the heat and ways to keep you and your heart cool

Outside temperatures don’t have to be in the triple digits for your heart to put in overtime to keep you cool, temperatures in the 80s and on like what we’re seeing today apply too.

Outside temperatures don’t have to be in the triple digits for your heart to put in overtime to keep you cool. Temperatures in the 80s and on, like what we’re seeing this week, apply too.

The American Heart Association has five ways you can keep your heart safe in the extreme heat:

  • Avoid the outdoors from about noon to 3 p.m. because the sun is typically at its strongest at that time and your more at risk for heat-related illnesses.
  • Dress for the heat. That includes lightweight, light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses and water-resistant sunscreen.
  • Drink up, stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after going outside and try to avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade, it’s the perfect time to fill up on water too.
  • Follow the doctor’s orders and take your medications as prescribed.

“Most people probably do them already but it’s also just being mindful of it especially that hydration part. If we could hammer anything into your head it would be to stay hydrated. It’s amazing what water can do for your body and especially when the temperatures get up to the 80s and 90s,” said Kevin Pauley, communications director for American Heart Association.

Summer heat brings additional health risks for expecting mothers.

Her body is already working hard to keep her and her child healthy and keeping cool adds even more work especially on the heart.

AHA said the biggest risk for expecting mothers in extreme heat is overheating.

Symptoms include warm skin, dizziness, headache and muscle cramps.

Once a pregnant woman’s body temperature is over 102°F it puts her at a greater risk for heat exhaustion, heatstroke and dehydration.

“One thing to keep in mind is dehydration is a cause of Braxton Hicks so you definitely want to be aware of that and also we want to make sure that in general just keeping hydrated because being hydrated especially when you’re pregnant is one of the most critical things you can do for yourself and the baby,” said Pauley.

AHA recommends whether you’re pregnant or not, f you feel you are overheating you should move to a cooler place, drink water, loosen your clothing, apply wet cloths to the skin and sit in a bathtub with cool water.

Here are symptoms for heat exhaustion:

  • headaches
  • heavy sweating
  • cold, moist skin, chills
  • dizziness or fainting (syncope)
  • a weak and rapid pulse
  • muscle cramps
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • nausea, vomiting or both

It’s important to note heat stroke is completely different, here are those symptoms:

  • warm, dry skin with no sweating
  • strong and rapid pulse
  • confusion and/or unconsciousness
  • high fever
  • throbbing headaches
  • nausea, vomiting or both

For additional information, click here.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.