What to do if heat makes you feel sick

August 8, 2023 – Getting in the shade, drinking liquids, and placing a cold, wet towel or wet napkins on your neck are three things you can do if extreme heat starts making you feel sick, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Catharina Giudice.

Giudice, an emergency medicine physician and a climate and human health fellow at Harvard Chan School’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Globe Environment (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE), was quoted in an August 3 article in Self about the potential health impacts of extremely high temperatures, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash, or heat stroke.

Given that many people don’t have access to air conditioning or need to work outdoors, “it’s so important to have an action plan in mind to implement when you first notice that the intense heat is becoming a little too much to bear,” she said.

Giudice was also quoted in a July 27 Washington Post article about a study that found that extreme heat combined with air pollution can double the risk of dying from a heart attack. Giudice, who was not involved with the study, said that the findings did not surprise her.

“We’re seeing record-breaking heat after record-breaking heat year after year,” she said. “It’s getting hotter, lasting longer, and happening more frequently. Heat makes cardiovascular disease worse. Pollution makes it worse. The two together are worse than each one independently.”

Read the Self article: 3 Things to Do If the Heat Starts Making You Feel Physically Ill

Read the Washington Post article: Extreme heat and pollution can double the risk of a fatal heart attack