Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to Stay Safe During Extreme Heat

Heat related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Yet, each year extreme heat causes more deaths than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods combined.  Here are some tips to help you stay safe and healthy during extreme heat waves.

Who's at risk?

  • Adults over 65
  • Infants and children under 4
  • People who have a mental illness
  • People who are physically ill or have existing medical conditions (like heart disease or high blood pressure)
  • People without access to air conditioning

What you can do?

Stay cool

Keep your body temperature cool to avoid heat-related illness.
  • Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing.
  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If you don't have air conditioning in your home, try going to a shopping mall, library, or call your local health department to see if there are any cooling centers in your area.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. When the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children need much more frequent watching.

Stay hydrated

Because your body loses fluids through sweat, you can become dehydrated during times of extreme heat.
  • Drink more water than usual.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
  • Drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Remind others to drink enough water.

Stay Informed

Stay updated on local weather forecasts so you can plan activities safely when it’s hot outside.
  • Check local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.
  • Learn the symptoms of heat illness, like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

(Source: CDC)

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