The 2019 Heat Wave Hits This Weekend: Learn How to Protect Yourself from Heatstroke

Record-high temperatures have already started in some states.

By Toni Gasparis , Reina Berger
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Dr. Oz Busts Summer Health Myths, Pt 1 (5:50)

UPDATE: This article was updated and revised with new information on July 18, 2019. 

It doesn't seem like there will be enough water or air conditioning in the world to cool people down this weekend as the 2019 heat wave descends on a large portion of the United States. It can seem like the perfect day to hit the beach, but a heat wave can have unexpected health consequences — and can even cause power outages, as everyone will be cranking up their ACs at the same time.

According to NBC News about two-thirds of the country will be affected with record high temperatures in the high 90s, with some areas even reaching up to 115°F.  Many states have declared a heat emergency and have cautioned residents to make sure they stay indoors and stay hydrated throughout the day.

What's even worse than the high temperatures in the day? The fact that the nighttime will offer no relief. The National Weather Service reported temperatures at night will not get below the high 70s. The most important thing to worry about as the heat wave approaches is staying safe, and Dr. Oz is offering his tips to help you beat the heat as well as how to know if you're having a heatstroke.

How to Stay Safe in the Heat Wave

The best prevention method is to avoid the heat at all costs. This means do not go outside between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is the strongest. Additionally, shut the windows and close the curtains to keep as much sun out of your house as possible. Other ways to exercise caution include: 

  • Take cold baths or showers. 
  • Splash yourself with cold water if you get overheated. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess consumption of alcohol and caffeine (those beverages won't help to hydrate you). 
  • Eat hydrating foods. Dr. Oz says onions are great because they have electrolytes to replenish your body.
  • Identify the coolest room in your house so you know where you can sit to keep cool. 
  • Wear loose-fitting, cool clothes. 
  • If you go outside wear a hat and sunglasses (don't forget sunscreen, too). 
  • Check up on friends, relatives, and neighbors who may be less able to look after themselves. 

Who Can Get a Heatstroke? 

Heatstroke, according to Mayo Clinic, is when your body temperature reaches over 104°F in hot weather. This can result in malfunctions to your brain, kidneys, and other parts of your body and even result in death. While anyone could be susceptible to heatstroke without taking the proper precautions in extreme heat conditions, there are certain groups that are more at-risk and should be extra careful during the heat wave. They include: 

  • Older people over 75 
  • Babies and young children
  • People with chronic health conditions like heart or breathing problems
  • People with mobility problems such as stroke patients or Parkinson's
  • People who have serious mental health problems
  • People who take medicines that affect sweating and temperature control (like beta blockers and stimulants)
  • People who are physically active like laborers and athletes 

Symptoms of Heatstroke

The U.S. Natural Hazard Statistics has reported that heat is the number one cause of weather-related deaths, even when compared to devastating natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. If you or someone you know exhibits some of the symptoms below during hot weather conditions, seek help from a medical professional immediately. 

  • Lack of sweating 

  • Skin feels hot and dry to the touch

  • Flushed, excessively red skin

  • Heat cramps which are muscle cramps or weakness

  • Throbbing headache

Don't Forget About Pets 

Dr. Oz doesn't want you to forget about your furry friends because extreme heat can affect them too. If you notice your dog is panting excessively, seems uncomfortable, or is unable to move they might be suffering from the heat. The Humane Society recommends keeping pets in an air-conditioned space, giving them plenty of water, spritzing or hosing them down, limiting exercise, and soaking their paws in a tub of cool water. If you think your pets may be suffering from dehydration or other heat-related illnesses, call your veterinarian right away.

For more Dr. Oz wellness tips, recipes, and exclusive sneak peeks from The Dr. Oz Show, subscribe to the Dr. Oz newsletter.

Related:

Dangerous Signs You're Overheating

10 Ways to Eat Your Water

5 Summer Health Tips That Can Help You Beat the Heat

Article written by Toni Gasparis

Article written by Reina Berger