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As Summer Approaches, Remember Sunscreen and Take Precautions Against Heat-Related Dangers

Harrisburg, PA - As Pennsylvanians prepare for summer weather, vacations and hosting outdoor activities, the Department of Health today encouraged residents to stay safe and be prepared for extreme weather conditions, including high temperatures, storms and hurricanes.

“We want to make sure Pennsylvania residents enjoy these warmer months but also stay safe,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “It’s important to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet radiation and stay hydrated to prevent heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can be dangerous and even deadly.”

The department recommends the following safety tips to help you and your loved ones prepare for summer weather:

Remember to wear:

  • Lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing;

  • A hat or visor;

  • Sunglasses; and

  • SPF 15 or higher sunscreen with broad spectrum coverage (reapply as necessary).

To stay hydrated:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day – don’t wait until you are thirsty!

  • Outdoor workers should drink between two and four cups of water every hour.

  • Avoid consuming caffeinated, alcoholic, or sugary beverages.

  • Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking fruit juice or sports drinks.

To safely exercise:

  • Limit outdoor exercise and stay indoors in air conditioning on hot days.

  • Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day, (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.).

  • Pace yourself when you run, walk, or otherwise exert your body.

To protect others:

  • Never leave children, older adults, or pets behind in a vehicle.

  • Check on those who may be more at risk of developing health issues from extreme temperatures such as:

    • Infants and young children

    • People ages 65 and older

    • People with chronic medical conditions

It is also important to know the difference between heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Symptoms of a heat stroke include a high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot and dry skin, but no sweating; a rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

If you think someone is having a heat stroke, it is important to first call 9-1-1. After calling for help, get the person to a shady area and quickly cool them down by putting them in a tub of cool water or spraying them with a garden hose. You should not give the victim any fluids, including water, to drink.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, and nausea or vomiting.

Help the person cool off and seek medical attention if symptoms are severe, symptoms last more than one hour, or the victim has heart problems or high blood pressure.

During extreme heat waves, cooling centers are opened in cities across Pennsylvania for individuals without air conditioning. To find the closest cooling center, please contact your municipality or county.

The beginning of the summer months is also a great time to make sure you are prepared for any type of severe weather. As Pennsylvania has already dealt with a number of tornadoes, it is important to have an emergency plan for you and your family, and also to know what to do if severe weather happens while you are away from home.

Additional information on how to prepare for summer weather can be found on the Department of Health’s website at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle, 717-787-1783 or

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