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Prepare in a Year - Extreme Heat

High temperatures kill hundreds of people every year. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet more than 700 people die from extreme heat every year in the United States.





During times of extreme heat (2-3 days of temps at 90° or above) – contact Anderson Island Fire/Rescue to inquire about cooling centers on the island.


Take measures to stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed. Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can’t compensate for it and properly cool you off. The main things affecting your body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather are:


High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly. This keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.


Personal factors: age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, prescription drug and alcohol use all can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.

Those who are at highest risk include people 65 and older, children younger than two, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness. Closely monitor people who depend on you for their care and ask these questions:

· Are they drinking enough water?

· Do they have access to air conditioning?

· Do they need help keeping cool?


People at greatest risk for heat-related illness can take the following protective actions to prevent illness or death:


· Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. Air-conditioning is the number one way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.

· Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during an extreme heat event. Fan use may cause your body to gain heat instead of lose it. On very hot, humid days, sweat evaporates off the skin slower than normal, and fans make it even more difficult for the body to lose heat by sweating.

· Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

· Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

· Limit use of the stove and oven—it will make you and your house hotter.


Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather:

· Limit your outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest.

· Pace your activity. Start activities slowly and pick up the pace gradually.

· Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.

· Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

· Take cool showers or baths to cool down.

· Never leave children or pets in cars.

· Check the local news for health and safety updates.


Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.


Heat Stroke

  • Very high body temperature (above 103°F)

  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)

  • Rapid, strong pulse

  • Throbbing headache

  • Dizziness

  • Upset stomach

  • Confusion

  • Passing out


Heat Exhaustion

  • Heavy sweating

  • Paleness

  • Muscle cramps

  • Tiredness

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Upset stomach or vomiting

  • Fainting


If you see any of these signs, get medical help immediately.




Treatment

While waiting for medical attention, you can help someone with heat stroke or heat exhaustion.


Heat Stroke


Move the victim to a shady area or indoors. Do not give the person fluids.


Cool the body by:

  • Placing person in a cool (not cold) bath or shower

  • Spraying with a garden hose

  • Sponging with cool water

  • Fanning

  • Continue efforts to cool the person until help arrives or his or her body temperature falls below 102°F and stays there.


Heat Exhaustion


Get medical attention if symptoms get worse or last longer than one hour.


Cool the body with:

  • Cool, nonalcoholic beverages

  • Rest

  • A cool (not cold) bath, shower, or sponge bath

  • Moving to an airconditioned room

  • Wearing lightweight clothing

  • Seek medical help immediately if symptoms are severe or if victim has heat problems or high blood pressure




Credit: cdc.gov, ready.gov, mil.wa.gov, cityoftacoma.org, health.ny.gov

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