Protect yourself from the HEAT
Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the U.S.
According to the National Weather Service, heat kills more people each year on average than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes. The elderly, small children, people on certain medications, and those with certain health conditions are especially at risk to reacting poorly to extreme heat. Luckily, heat-related illness is 100 percent preventable.
- Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, remain on the lowest floor and out of the sunshine.
- Avoid too much sunshine. A sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. Use sunscreen with a high SPF rating.
- Drink plenty of water regularly, and limit intake of alcoholic beverages-which can cause dehydration.
- Eat well-balanced, light meals.
- Slow down. Reduce, reschedule, or eliminate strenuous activities.
- Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Light-colored clothing will reflect heat and sunlight, and help maintain a normal body temperature.
- Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
Protecting Pets from HEAT
- Make sure your pets have plenty of water.
- Don’t exercise dogs when it’s warm. Instead, exercise early in the morning or late at night, or where they can cool off in water.
- Fur coats are hot. Keep your dog or cat’s fur trimmed to about one inch to help them cool down. A kiddie pool filled with water can also keep pets cool, however, keep them in the air conditioning when possible.
- If your pets do show any signs of distress, take them to the vet immediately.
Recognizing and Treating Heat Illness
Learn the signs and symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and what you should do.
- Sunburns-Characterized by redness of the skin and pain. In severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters, fever, and headaches will occur. What to do: Use ointments for mild cases, do not break blisters if they appear. Serious cases should be seen by a physician.
- Heat Cramps-Characterized by pail spasms in stomach and leg muscles, and those affected will also be sweating heavily. What to do: Apply firm pressure or massage cramping muscles, and give the victim sips of water. Discontinue with if nausea occurs.
- Heat Exhaustion-Affected persons will experience heavy sweating, weakness, and cold, pale, and clammy skin. In addition, the victim’s pulse may be fine and scarcely perceptible, but temperature not be normal. Fainting and vomiting often occur. What to do: Get the victim out of the sun, and have the person lie down, loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths to the victim or move them to an air-conditioned room. Offer sips of water, but discontinue if nausea occurs. Seek immediate medical attention if vomiting continues.
- Heat Stroke(Sunstroke)-Characterized by a high body temperature (106 F or higher). The victim’s skin will be hot and dry, and have a rapid, strong pulse. He or she may even suffer unconsciousness. What to do: HEAT STROKE IS A SEVERE MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal. While waiting for assistance, move the victim to a cooler environment, and reduce his/her body temperature with a cold bath or sponging. Remove the affected person’s clothing. Use fans and air conditioners. If the victim’s temperature rises again, repeat the process. Do not give the victim fluids.