7 Tips for Staying Healthy in the Heat

July 19, 2019

This week brings us 90-plus degree temperatures and, as a result, an increased risk of heat-related illness. On average, 600 people die each year in the U.S. from complications of extreme heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Check out these tips to beat the heat:

Don’t exercise outside during periods of extreme heat.

Runners should target mornings and evenings, when it’s cooler. Exercise increases your core body temperature and decreases your level of dehydration, so hydration before and during exercise is important. Dehydration can lead to exertional heat stroke, which is one of the top killers of athletes in training.

-Spectrum Health Manager of Athletic Training Outreach Phillip Adler

Avoid sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages because they can dehydrate you.

If you’re dehydrated, your body loses its ability to appropriately regulate temperature. One sports drink a day is fine, but water should be your go-to drink.

-Associate Director of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Emergency Dept. Dr. Erica Michiels



Monitor the water intake of children.

Just because you provide water, doesn’t mean they’re drinking it. Plus, children sweat less than adults, which makes it more difficult for them to cool off. For children and adults spending time outside, one solid “glug” of water every 10 minutes is a good idea.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Specialist Jennifer Hoekstra


Take a dip, or at least sponge off with cool water.

Cool water can quickly lower your body temperature, so jump in a lake or pool. If that’s not an option, grab a wet towel or washcloth. The evaporation of water off your skin, especially in conjunction with circulating air, will cool you down.

-Spectrum Health Injury Prevention Coordinator Meaghan Crawley


If you’re on medication, be extra cautious.

Some medications, including those for high blood pressure, cardiac conditions and mental illness, can put children and adults at greater risk of dehydration, particularly when the heat index is above 90 degrees. If you’re taking medication, put an extra focus on staying hydrated.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Specialist Jennifer Hoekstra


Keep an eye on friends and neighbors.

No one is immune from heat-related illnesses, but certain populations are more susceptible, including senior citizens, children and those who work or exercise outside in the extreme heat. Check on them twice a day.

-Spectrum Health Injury Prevention Coordinator Meaghan Crawley



Water, water, water! Especially if you’re pregnant

During pregnancy, blood volume increases 30-50 percent so added hydration is important. Dehydration in pregnancy can lead to light headedness, fatigue and lower blood pressures. Call your health care provider if you do not feel well after being in the heat and you have tried resting with plenty of water intake.

-Spectrum Health OB/GYN Dr. Kania McGhee


Beth Cranson
Media Relations
Office: 616.391.2603
Mobile: 616.540.0813