Heat can kill. That’s why Oneida County Emergency Management and the National Weather Service are reminding people of dangers associated with extreme heat and to promote safety measures.
To help keep cool this summer, here are some tips to keep safe in hot weather:
• Never leave children, disabled persons or pets in a parked car, even briefly. Temperatures in a car can become life-threatening within minutes. On an 80-degree day with sunshine, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked slightly can rise 20 to 30 degrees above the outside temperature in 10 to 20 minutes. There have been cases where the inside temperature rose 40 degrees! Additional information is available at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/index.shtml.
• Keep your living space cool. Cover windows to keep the sun from shining in. If you don’t have an air conditioner, open windows to let air circulate. When it’s hotter than 95 degrees use fans to blow hot air out of the window rather than to blow hot air on your body. Basements or ground floors are often cooler than upper floors.
• Slow down and limit physical activity. Plan outings or exertion for the early morning or after dark when temperatures are cooler.
• Drink plenty of water and eat lightly. Don’t wait for thirst, but instead drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid alcohol or caffeine and stay away from hot, heavy meals.
• Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Add a hat or umbrella to keep your head cool and don’t forget sunscreen!
• Don’t stop taking medication unless your doctor says you should. Take extra care to stay cool and ask your doctor or pharmacist for any special heat advice.
• Taking a cool shower or bath will cool you down. A shower or bath will actually work faster than an air conditioner. Applying cold wet rags to the neck, head and limbs also cools down the body quickly.
People at higher risk of a heat-related illness include:
• Older adults
• Infants and young children
• People with chronic heart or lung problems
• People with disabilities
• Overweight persons
• Those who work outdoors or in hot settings
• Users of some medications, especially those taken for mental disorders, movement disorder, allergies, depression and heart or circulatory problems
• People who are isolated that don’t know when or how to cool off, or when to call for help
Symptoms of heat-related illness and what to do
• Heat cramps: Cramps or muscle spasms in the abdomen, arms or legs. Solution: Stop activity. Cool down, drink clear juice or sports drink.
• Heat exhaustion: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, fainting. Solution: Cool down, seek medical attention.
• Heat stroke: Extremely high body temperature, red, hot, dry skin, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, unconsciousness. Solution: Call 911 and cool the victim with shower or hose until help arrives.
(Courtesy Wisconsin Department of Health Services)