Beat the heat with safety tips from Dartmouth Health

Blurred image of thermometer showing a temperature over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and a man holding a water bottle and wiping sweat from his face.

As temperatures soar across our region, it’s important to prioritize your health and wellbeing.

Ryan B. Gerecht, MD

Northern New England is currently experiencing a crushing heatwave fueled by an intense heat dome stretching from the Northeast into the Midwest. A heatwave is defined by a minimum of three consecutive days during which temperatures reach a minimum of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. New Hampshire is expected to see record-high temperatures for this time of year, with heat index estimates as high as 106 degrees in some areas.

“As temperatures soar across our region, it’s important to prioritize your health and wellbeing,” said Ryan B. Gerecht, MD, an emergency medicine physician with Dartmouth Health. “Heatwaves can be dangerous, so we at Dartmouth Health want to share some key tips on how to stay cool and comfortable this summer.”

Gerecht recommends taking the following steps to protect yourself and those you care about during extreme high temperatures:

  • Hydration is key—don't wait until you're thirsty. Sip water throughout the day, even if you don't feel dehydrated. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, which can dehydrate you further.
  • Seek cool relief. Limit strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day. If you must be outside, wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing and sunscreen. Spend time in air-conditioned spaces whenever possible, such as libraries, shopping malls, or cooling centers.
  • Listen to your body: Be aware of signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion, such as dizziness, headache, or excessive sweating. If you experience any of these symptoms, move to a cool place, remove excess clothing, and drink fluids. If symptoms worsen, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Never leave children or pets unattended in a parked car, even for a short period. The temperature inside a car can rise rapidly, leading to heatstroke or death.
  • Check in on older neighbors or relatives who may be living alone. Heatwaves can be particularly dangerous for older adults.
  • Schedule air-conditioned activities during the hottest part of the day. Consider visiting a library, senior center, or shopping mall for a cool respite. A list of cooling centers and open public swimming pools around New Hampshire may be found on WMUR-TV’s website.
  • If you live alone and have concerns about managing during the heatwave, reach out to a friend, family member, or local social service agency for assistance.

A video of Gerecht sharing these tips may be viewed on the Dartmouth Health YouTube channel. This video is cleared for use by news media outlets on all digital and broadcast platforms, with credit to Dartmouth Health required.

About Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 56 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, which includes Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital, and multiple clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Bennington and Windsor, VT; Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.