Hot Weather Risks and Heat Safety Checklist

Summer reminds most of us of vacations, longer days, and relaxing next to the pool–But it can also bring risks. Hot weather increases the chance of dehydration, heat stroke, and other heat-related issues. People with certain disabilities such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes may be at a higher risk in hotter temperatures.  

By following these tips to prevent excessive heat issues, you can enjoy the sun by staying heat-safe.

Who’s at Risk in Hot Weather? 

The truth is that everyone is at risk for things like heat stroke, sunburn, and dehydration when the temperatures climb. A few groups have increased sensitivity to heat related issues such as:

  • Those with disabilities

  • Those with health conditions 

  • Small children

  • Older adults 

These groups should take extra precautions in hot weather but everyone can benefit from observing heat safety precautions.

Dangers to the Body During Excessive Heat

Heat Stroke

The body normally cools itself through sweating, but when humidity is high or when disabilities restrict this regulation, the body can quickly overheat and suffer from heat stroke. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if not treated promptly by an emergency team. Keeping hydrated and taking lots of breaks during any physical activities can save your life.


Often going hand in hand with heatstroke, dehydration is also a risk during hot climates. When we feel thirsty, our body is usually telling us that we are already slightly dehydrated so drinking water regularly is a must. Young children and older adults have increased risk for dehydration when it’s hot, as well as those with uncontrolled diabetes or multiple sclerosis

Sunburn/ Overexposure

Disabilities or medications that make you or your skin more sensitive to sunlight can also create serious issues in the warmer weather.  For example, lupus can cause inflammation in several organs that can be triggered by exposure to ultraviolet light. Sunburn can occur quickly and not be obvious until it is quite severe. Repeated overexposure to the sun can even lead to skin cancer.

Enjoying the beautiful outdoors provides mental and emotional benefits and should be a part of your summer. A few precautions can ensure safety when the temperatures rise– think sunblock, hats, the right clothing, and plenty of water– especially if you have a disease such as MS, lupus, or diabetes that can increase your sensitivity to light or heat.

Staying Heat Safe

Though certain disabilities may have a lower heat or sun exposure tolerance, the same heat safety measures apply to everyone. 

Keeping yourself cool and protecting yourself from the dangers of the sun can help reduce the risk of sunburn, heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heat rash, and dehydration. These preventative measures can also reduce the risk of future diseases, such as skin cancer.

Heat Safety Checklist

Here’s what you can do to ensure your body stays safe in times of excessive heat

Know Your Personal Heat Risk

Often, disabilities, illnesses, and other factors in our unique health profile can affect day-to-day life in unexpected ways. Sometimes, it’s difficult to anticipate potential health risks from heat exposure.  

Be sure to ask your doctor about risks you might have based on your health. Ask them how you can maximize heat safety for your unique body, then, be sure to follow their directions. Also, research your condition on your own. Ask people with similar health issues how they beat the heat. Find techniques that work best for you while still allowing you to enjoy the summer. 

Protect Your Skin From Excessive Heat: 

It’s important to always wear some sort of UV protection, even when you aren’t spending all day at the pool.  Even short periods of sun exposure can damage your skin. Try purchasing a daily moisturizer that has UV protection so you can incorporate some protection in your daily routine. Also, remember that sunblock fades, so be sure to reapply regularly.

Drink to Heat Safety

Various sources report that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.  Dehydration is no small thing, and the side effects can be deadly.  Try making fruit and herb-infused waters or flavored ice cubes to keep you and your kids hydrated with healthy flavored water. Avoid drinks with added sugars, caffeine, and alcohol. 

Heat-Safe Diet Tips

During the warmer weather, you lose salt through sweat. You can replace this crucial mineral through your food and beverage choices.  Before you rush out and order that large fry– consider drinking sports drinks and clear juices while you are working or exercising outdoors. These can help get your salt levels and electrolytes back to normal in a healthier, natural way.

Adding additional fruits and vegetables with high water content can also help reduce the risk of dehydration and heat stroke. Watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, strawberries, and peaches are all delicious ways to ensure adequate hydration for hot-weather safety. 

Your Heat Safety Wardrobe

Wearing lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored fabrics can help keep your body cool when it’s hot outside. Remember that lightweight does not mean short with lots of sun shining directly on the skin.  You can actually stay cooler by avoiding excessive heat exposure on your skin by staying covered. 

Make a Hot Weather Safety Plan

Be prepared. Whether or not you have increased risks like serious disabilities or health problems, the best thing you can do to stay healthy in hot or cold weather is to always have a plan. If you are going to spend a lot of time outdoors, know what to expect.  Bring plenty of water, extra food, a hat and sunglasses, sunblock, and extra layers of clothes.  It’s also smart to carry a basic first aid kit with you as a general practice. 

We hope these tips help you enjoy the many benefits of hot weather safely. Heat stroke, dehydration, sunburn, and heat rash can quickly ruin a fun summer or even turn deadly. Luckily, with a few simple precautions, you can stay safe in hot weather and enjoy all the fun and adventure that summer has to offer.

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