While July has ended, Midcoast Maine still has more hot weather and humidity to contend with as the summer comes to a close and fall starts to creep in.

For that reason, we decided to speak with some professionals about how to stay safe and healthy while you are feeling hot, hot, hot!

Dr. Tyler Giberson, who is an emergency room doctor at Pen Bay Medical Center and Maine Medical Center, called us for a chat on this very important topic.

Dr. Giberson said most people will be fine during these high temperatures if they stay adequately hydrated. However, more vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, children and the elderly can be very susceptible to the heat and may not have adequate resources to combat what the medical

Check in on each other during a heat wave, especially if you know a neighbor is a member of those more vulnerable folks.

Staying hydrated

“I love the summer just as much as everyone else,” said Dr. Giberson. “You can go outside, you just have to be smart.”

Staying hydrated might require preparation, like bringing extra water when going on a trip, or an adequately sized water bottle when going on a long hike.

“Hydration” and “electrolytes” are buzzwords that companies like to throw around as well. So we asked Dr. Giberson for the down-low on what can really help folks hydrate.

“For hydration, there is no superior product than water,” Dr. Giberson said. Straight from the horse’s mouth… or, doctor’s mouth…

If you are worried about replacing electrolytes, which you do lose when sweating, Dr. Giberson said to look for drinks that are low in sugar, like electrolyte water. You can also make a half-and-half cocktail of water and sports drinks.

Heat illness

There is a spectrum of illness related to heat, Dr. Giberson said. Look for signs and symptoms like headache, nausea and cramping in the arms and legs. These are signs your temperature is rising, and you may be experiencing dehydration.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, get somewhere cool, rest and drink plenty of water.

Signs of more serious heat illness are things like heart palpitations, severe headaches, and especially if you stop sweating.

The next signs after that are altered mental state, weakness in extremities, and slurred speech. These are signs of a dangerous level of heat illness.

If you suspect you or a loved one is experiencing serious heat stroke symptoms, call 911.

Cool down

Remember to stay cool on these hot summer days. Stay inside if you can on days when the temperature is rising. The higher the temperature gets, the more likely heat illness becomes.

A fast way to cool down is applying cold, wet clothes to the body.

If you must go outside, make sure you hydrate properly and wear light colored clothing. Wear a breathable fabric that covers the skin to prevent direct sun contact, Dr. Giberson suggested.

Wear sunscreen while you are outside! Dr. Giberson said it should be an SPF 30 or more, and reapply every one or two hours, or after being in the water or getting sweaty. SPT 50 or 60 are better, he said, and you still have to reapply with the same rules.

No air conditioning?

If you live somewhere without air conditioning, Dr. Giberson suggested leaving your house closed up during the day, and covering your windows. This keeps a lot of the heat out.

These are also good days to visit public places that have air conditioning like museums, grocery stores or recreation centers.

Dr. Giberson also suggested getting outside on a lake or the ocean on these hot days to keep cool.

The Camden Herald and Courier-Gazette editorial board collaborate on an editorial regarding a topic of interest or community concern.