Outdoor temperatures are rising at a fast pace this week. More than 700 people die from heat related illnesses each year in the United States. Our blog today is full of information about staying safe in the heat that is plaguing us.
The top three heat-related illnesses and their symptoms are:
Heat Stroke. This is a life-threatening emergency and should be treated by a medical professional quickly. Headache, nausea, confusion, loss of consciousness, and hot, red, dry, or damp skin are symptoms and occur when body temperature reaches 103° Fahrenheit.
Heat Exhaustion. Excessive loss of bodily fluids and salts occurs when the body is not able to maintain normal functions in the heat. Heavy sweating, dizziness, weakness, headache, and cold, clammy skin are symptoms.
Heat Cramps. Usually occurring during heavy exercise or strenuous activity in hot weather. Symptoms include painful, brief muscle cramps or spasms usually in the calves, thighs, abdomen, or shoulders.
Impediments to Body Cooling
High Humidity. Sweat won’t evaporate as quickly in high humidity and slows the release of heat from your body.
Individual Elements. Cooling off in very hot weather is also be influenced by age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use.
What is a Heat Wave?
A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more above average and frequently combined with excessive humidity.
Weather Forecast Terms
Excessive Heat Watch - Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
Heat Advisory - Heat Index values are forecasting to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs = 100 - 105° Fahrenheit).
Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Index values are forecasting to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs = 105 -110° Fahrenheit).
Taking Care of Yourself and Others
Avoid the Heat. During the hottest portion of the day – noon to 4:40PM – stay indoors in the air conditioning.
Drink Liquids. Sip water continuously while you are outside. Waiting until you are thirsty is too late to effectively rehydrate your body. Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol as they can dehydrate your body even more.
Clothing and Sunscreen. Wear lightweight, loose clothing. Apply sunscreen with at least SPF15 generously and often – check directions on the bottle.
Face Masks. If you wear a face mask and are having trouble breathing or are overheated, move 6 feet away from others and remove the mask.
Outside dogs and cats. Pets can dehydrate quickly. Be sure to provide large amounts of drinking water, a shady place to rest, and check on them frequently. Possibly bring them indoors during the heat wave.
Nix the Car Trips. Animals and children should never be left if the car in the summer.
For more safety tips, click here to go to the CDC website.
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