While you are outside enjoying time with friends and family – whether it is taking a walk in your neighborhood or going for a bike ride or morning jog—be mindful of the heat to stay safe this summer.

Tips For Heart Patients to Stay Safe This Summer

If you are over 50 years old, or overweight and have heart issues, you should consider special precautions, according to Gerald Fletcher, MD, and professor at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. He recommends checking with your physician before beginning an exercise routine if you have been experiencing symptoms or have heart disease or chronic illnesses and take medications. Certain heart medications such as beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers and diuretics (which deplete sodium in the body) may cause your body to have an exaggerated response to the heat, Fletcher said.

Even if you do not take any medications, Fletcher said “if you are older than 50, you may not be aware that you’re thirsty,” and “if you’re going to be outside, it’s important to drink water even if you don’t think you need it.”

Tips For People of All Ages to Stay Safe in the Heat

Dr. Fletcher said people of all ages should be cautious as they brave the heat. He recommends watching the amount of time spent outside and to buddy up with a partner to stay safe.  He said “it’s best to avoid the outdoors in the early afternoon (about noon to 3 pm) because the sun is usually at its strongest, putting you at higher risk for heat-related illnesses.”  He recommends the following tips to stay safe in the heat this summer:

Wear Proper Socks and Shoes

Be careful to choose footwear that is properly ventilated and to wear socks that repel perspiration.

Dress Properly for the Heat

Wear lightweight, and light-colored clothing and breathable fabrics, such as cotton or synthetic fabric that repel sweat, and wear a hat to keep your head cool and a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Stay Hydrated

Make sure to drink a few cups of water before you go outside, and continue to drink this amount during and after your exercise. Avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.

Wear Sunscreen

Apply water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15, and make sure to reapply it every two hours to protect your skin.

Take Breaks

Make sure to take regular breaks from the sun when you are outside and look for some shade to stay cool. Stop for a few minutes and continue to hydrate.

Stay Active!

Fletcher says it is important to keep up regular exercise and enjoyment of the outdoors. “Don’t not exercise—ADAPT!”

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