This summer has brought multiple days of excessive heat and humidity, with more to come.

Heatwaves can put stress on the body, including the heart. “During heatwaves, we see at least a 20 percent increase in calls to our offices and emergency rooms specific to heart issues,” said Laurence Conway, MD, director of the MelroseWakefield Cardiovascular Center.

“The elderly, as well as people with heart disease or lung disease, need to stay indoors in an air-conditioned environment when temperatures remain over 85 degrees for an extended period of time,” Dr. Conway added.

Dr. Conway offered the following tips to stay healthy and safe during times of extreme heat and humidity:

  1. If you need to go outside, make short trips in the morning or evening, minimize time in the direct sun and hydrate with one or two glasses of water prior to venturing outdoors.
  2. If you experience any shortness of breath, dizziness or chest pain, get back indoors and call your physician.
  3. Check on elderly neighbors or those with heart or lung disease. If they don’t have air conditioning, invite them over or help them find a cool place to spend the day.