ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With the heat on everyone’s mind, Dr. Matthew Brennan, a family medicine physician with St. Peter’s Health Partners, said the most important thing you can do is hydrate. “Water, particularly avoiding anything with caffeine in it, anything with alcohol,” he said. “Iced coffee, iced tea may sound like a good tasty drink on a hot day but ultimately that leads to relative dehydration in the long run.”  

If you can’t avoid the heat altogether, Brennan said limiting your time outside and knowing the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be key to keeping you safe on a hot day. Some of those signs include excessive sweating, dizziness, confusion, cramps, or headaches.

Brennan said heat stroke can be more dangerous. “When we start going into heat stroke, that’s the ultimate time to call 911,” he said. “When we talk about heat stroke, we talk about changes in your mental status, if someone seems confused, not being themselves, particularly developing seizures related to the heat, that would be the time to call 911 and get emergency help right away.”

Brennan said it’s also important to check on the elderly and on children who may be more susceptible to heat related illnesses, making sure they stay safe. “I think the onus is on parents, coaches, camp counselors to make sure we’re encouraging hydration, encouraging frequent breaks,” he said. “Particularly, the hotter it is, the more breaks we probably need.”