August 20, 2020
Extreme heat can be dangerous, so we thought we would pass along information with excerpts from the websites of Centers of Disease and Control (CDC) and the Washington Department of Health (DOH) on how to prevent heat-related illnesses.
Extreme heat is defined as temperatures that are much hotter and/or more humid than normal. According to the CDC, “Heat exhaustion or heat stroke can happen when the body is not able to properly cool itself.” Sweating is the body’s normal response to cooling itself down but it might not always be enough. During extreme heat, a person’s body temperature can rise faster than it can cool itself off which can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs.
Most common heat-related symptoms are heavy sweating, hot red, damp/clammy skin, irregular pulse, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, and fainting. Even a bad sunburn that results in blisters needs immediate attention. If any of these occur, move to a cool place as soon as possible. Put cool wet cloth on body or take a cool bath. Sip water or a sports drink to replenish electrolytes. Call 911 if a heat stroke is suspected.
An easy way to remember how to prevent Heat-Related Illness is to remember the three Ss.
•Never leave children or pets in cars as vehicles can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with the window cracked.
•Wear appropriate clothing, loose fitting, lightweight and light in color.
•Limit outdoor activity and pace yourself. Stay indoors in air-conditioned places as much as possible.
•Wear sunscreen that list “broad spectrum or UVA/UVB protection” on labels as sunburns affect your body’s ability to cool itself and can cause dehydration.
•Avoid heavy and hot meals as they can add heat to your body.
•Drink plenty of fluids, regardless of how active you are—don’t wait until you are thirsty.
•Stay away from sugary or alcoholic drinks as they can cause more body fluid loss. Alcohol causes dehydration and very cold drinks can cause stomach cramps.
•Replace salt and minerals as heavy sweating can deplete these. (lf on a low-salt diet, talk with your provider).
•Keep pets hydrated by providing plenty of fresh water and keep pet in shady cool areas.
Stay Informed for Updates. Check your local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips and to learn about any cooling shelters in your area.
Know the Signs Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.
Monitor Those at High Risk Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others are such as older adults, children, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases. “Even young and healthy people can be affected if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.”
We hope this has been helpful information and wish you all a healthy and safe summer!