6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Staying Healthy in the Heat

(ABC 6 News) – Beating the heat is not only essential for your own comfort, but also for your health. Your 6 On Your Side Consumer Confidence report has some important tips to help you keep cool and safe all summer.

We’re in the midst of the dog days of summer, and with heat waves becoming more frequent and intense over the years, it’s important to protect yourself.

"Heat-related illnesses, especially heat stroke, can be dangerous, so everyone should take the proper precautions when it’s hot out," Consumer Reports, Catherine Roberts says.

Recognizing the early signs of a heat stroke in yourself or someone else can be life-saving. "A heat stroke can be fatal, so it’s really important to know its early signs, which include confusion, dizziness, weakness, agitation, slurred speech, and nausea and vomiting. It can also cause you to pass out," Roberts says.

If you suspect a heat stroke in yourself or someone else, call 911 and quickly get yourself or them into an air-conditioned room or cool shower or bath. To help prevent yourself from ever getting into a dangerous situation like that, here are some tips.

Before you head outside, think about what you’re wearing– choose loose-fitting, light-colored clothes – which can help keep you cooler, and don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Once dressed, put sunscreen on all exposed skin.

"Not only do sunburns hurt, they can also raise your risk of skin cancer and heat-related illness," Roberts says. A top-tested sunscreen that’s also a CR best buy: Equate Ultra Lotion SPF 50 sold at Walmart.

It’s also important to stay hydrated. Try filling up a pitcher or a large water bottle with ice and water, and aim to finish it by the end of the day. CR tried out the Hydro Flask Wide Mouth with Straw Lid, and found it to be a good everyday bottle, easy to use and drink from while keeping the water cold.

And to cool off all over, drink that water inside an air conditioned room, especially during the hottest parts of the day, between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.

When it comes to sunscreen, CR also recommends applying it 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply every 2 hours or after you swim or sweat.