July is Summer Heart Health Month

July 01, 2018
summer graphic- July Calendar2

Protect your heart in the heat! It’s important to stay safe when temperatures rise. Heat-related deaths and illness are usually preventable, but annually many people succumb to the extreme heat. While the elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk; even young and healthy individuals can give in to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.

Tips for being active outdoors:
It’s best to avoid the outdoors in the early afternoon (about noon to 3 p.m.) because the sun is usually at its strongest, putting you at higher risk for heat-related illnesses. 

  • Get off on the right foot. You probably sweat the most in your shoes, so choose well-ventilated shoes and look for socks that repel perspiration. Foot powders and antiperspirants can also help with sweat.
  • Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton, or a synthetic fabric that repels sweat. Add a hat and/or sunglasses.
  • Drink up. Before you get started, apply a water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15, and reapply it every two hours. Stay hydrated by drinking a few cups of water before, during and after your exercise. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
  • Take regular breaks. Find some shade or a cool place, stop for a few minutes, hydrate and start again.

More tips on staying active in warm weather.

Hydrating is important year around, but especially if you brave the summer sun. Keeping the body hydrated with water helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. If you’re well hydrated your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Drink up!


Do you know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke?


Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Headaches
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Dizziness and light-headedness 
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine

If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, stop exercising and cool down immediately by using cool wet cloths, compresses, and fanning. You may need to seek medical attention.

Symptoms of heat stroke:
The symptoms of heatstroke include (call 911 or the local emergency number right away):

  • Fever (temperature above 104 °F)
  • Irrational behavior
  • Extreme confusion
  • Dry, hot, and red skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention right away.

Berries in a bowl

Which fruits and vegetables are in season?

Summer brings an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables to grocery stores, farmers’ markets and local gardens. That means more opportunities to add tasty and heart-healthy foods to your everyday meals. Learn more.


Grilling can be a big part of summer months. Check out this video below on how to prepare for a successful grilling experience:

Keep these tips in mind when making delicious grilled meals that are also heart healthy.

In July, we also focus on Quality of Care. Research shows that when medical professionals apply the most up-to-date, evidenced-based treatment guidelines, patient outcomes improve. Our comprehensive suite of quality programs can help translate Association guidelines and statements into programs that healthcare providers implement to reduce the devastation of heart disease and stroke.

Did You Know?

  • More than 6.7 million people have been treated though American Heart Association quality programs.
  • Association quality programs have produced more than 500 scientific publications and positively impacted heart and stroke care for more than 2,400 hospitals since 2001.
  • Over 38% of all CVD patient discharges in the US are covered by a Get With The Guidelines® quality improvement program.
  • There are Get With The Guidelines® participating hospitals in all 50 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. International initiatives have been launched in China, Brazil and most recently the United Arab Emirates.


Important dates in July

   7/1 - Summer Heart Health Month begins      

   7/1 - 7/31 UV Awareness Month                                

   7/4 - Independence Day

   7/16 - 7/22 National Youth Sports Week

   7/22 National Parent's Day

   7/28 - World Hepatitis Day

   7/30 - 8/1  AHA BCVS Scientific Sessions 2018