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5 Dangerous Myths About Extreme Heat

Updated: Jul 19

by Dr. Jen Caudle


When temperatures soar, staying safe is of utmost importance. Believe it or not, extreme heat can wreak havoc on our bodies. Here are 5 dangerous myths about extreme heat you shouldn't believe.


1) Electric Fans Are Good for Cooling


Many international organizations feel that when temps soar into the 90's, electric fans are not the best for cooling. "Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness," says, the CDC.


Recently, however, some studies have questioned this guidance, suggesting that the use of electric fans might be okay in some conditions.


Just know that there is some debate about the topic and that electric fans may not always be ideal.




2) The Best Way to Prevent Heat Stroke is to Stay in the Shade


Staying in the shade, rather than the sun, is important for staying cool but air conditioning is the strongest protective factor against heat-related illness.


If you don't have air conditioning in your home, go to a friend's house, a local mall, or a library to spend time in air-conditioning. This alone will help lower your risk of heat illness.


3). Having a Few Beers Is Not a Big Deal


Having a few beers could be a big deal. It's hard enough to stay well hydrated in hot weather, but adding alcohol into the mix could become downright dangerous.


Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it helps release fluid from the body (coffee and soda is too, btw). This is why you pee so much when drinking alcohol. In extreme heat, losing extra fluid could be problematic because it can promote dehydration. During high heat, make sure you opt for non-alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated.




4) Everyone Has the Same Risk for Heat Illness


This is definitely not true. While it's true that anyone can get heat illness, some people are at higher risk. Folks at highest risk include the following:

  • Infants and young children

  • People 65 years of age or older

  • People who are overweight

  • People who overexert during work or exercise

  • People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation



5) Heat Stroke Can Be Managed Without Medical Care


This is not advisable. If you know someone has heat stroke or if you're concerned they might have heat stroke you should seek medical care for them- which means calling 911- while doing your best to help cool them in the meanttime. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that can cause serious harm to the body. Learn more here: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html


Stay cool in the heat, loves!

Dr. Jen


Dr. Jen Caudle is a board-certified Family Physician, Associate Professor at Rowan University, tv health expert, and video creator. Sign up to receive Dr. Jen's Daily Health Tips to get daily emails (Mon-Fri) with health information you can use to live a healthier life. Follow her on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.




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