How to Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather

By Pam Gennings, Executive Director Special Projects

Summer is here, and it’s hot!

Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous activities during hot weather. However, those at the greatest risk of heat-related illness are:

  • The elderly
  • The very young
  • Those with chronic diseases or mental illness

The body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather is affected by:

Humidity: When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly. This prevents your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need.

Personal factors: Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, prescription drugs and alcohol use may all play a role in a person’s ability to adequately and safely cool off enough in hot weather.

To help prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries or deaths during hot weather, consider the following:

  • Air-conditioning: the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death is air-conditioning. If you or someone you know does not have air-conditioning, spending time in public facilities that have air-conditioning can reduce the risk of heat-related illness.


  • Fluids: drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they promote dehydration.


  • Being outdoors: schedule outdoor activities carefully, and pace yourself.


  • Clothing: wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing. Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than synthetics.


  • Sunscreen: always wear sunscreen to protect your skin!


  • Water: it’s not just for hydration—cool showers or baths are a great way to cool down.


  • Rest: be careful not to over exert yourself.


  • Pay attention: do NOT leave pets or children in cars!


  • Use common sense: if the heat is intolerable, stay indoors in the air-conditioning as much as you can.


Excerpts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



Oxford Helps Turn Down the Heat With “Cooling the Ozarks” Box Fan Collection

"Cooling the Ozarks" Box Fan Collection

For the last six years, Oxford HealthCare has led the way in caring for seniors affected by the heat and humidity of an Ozarks summer.

The elderly and those with chronic  illnesses are the most vulnerable to falling sick from heat-related complications.  “Many seniors can’t afford to  run their air conditioning , or they just plain don’t have it. They skip the AC to buy medication or groceries.. We see it every day,” says Holly Isom, West Plains Regional Director. “ We’re here to give them some comfort, to help them stay well and hopefully to get other services to them if that’s what they need.”

This year, Oxford kicked off the West Plains distribution with a live radio broadcast with KKDY “New Country” at the Ace Hardware in West Plains. The goal in the West Plains region is to collect and deliver at least 100 new box fans to the community between June 7th and June 22nd, and raise awareness of heat related illnesses. Those receiving fans are homebound and either elderly or disabled.

Since 2009, Oxford has given more than 1,000 fans to needy seniors. The Springfield Fan drive distribution is set for June 24th.