Beat the Heat: Heat Safety Tips
We have been experiencing higher than normal temperatures this summer, and this kind of heat can be deadly. Pets, the elderly, young and those with compromised immune systems can be especially susceptible to extreme temperatures.
Here are some quick heat safety tips
- Don’t leave children, pets (or anyone) alone in enclosed vehicles for any amount of time.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink more water than you think you’ll need. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Wear loose, light colored clothing.
- Plan indoor activities during the hottest part of the day.
- If you have to work outdoors take lots of water breaks.
- If you have family members, neighbors or friends who don’t have air conditioning or you know are alone, check in on them.
- Check on your pets frequently and make sure they have plenty of cold water and if you can, keep them inside during the day.
- Wear sunscreen.
Make sure your loved ones are taking these extra precautions to beat the heat and avoid the 3 most common heat related illnesses.
Heat Related Illnesses
- Muscle pains and spasms most commonly in the legs or abdomen. They are an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.
- Get the person out of the heat and have them rest comfortably.
- Lightly stretch the affected muscle and gently massage the area.
- Provide water or an electrolyte-containing fluid (sports drinks, fruit juice or milk).
- Heat exhaustion is more severe than heat cramps. Symptoms include cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness and exhaustion.
- Move the person out of the heat as soon as possible to a cool environment with circulating air.
- Remove or loosen as much clothing as possible and apply cool, wet cloths to the skin.
- Fan or spray the person with cool water.
- If person is conscious, give them small amounts of water or fluid with electrolytes
- If their condition does not improve, if they refuse water, have a change in consciousness or vomit, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
Heat stroke is life threatening. It can occur if you ignore the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke will develop when the body systems are so overwhelmed by heat that they begin shutting down. Symptoms include extremely high body temperature; red skin either dry or moist; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; shallow breathing; confusion; vomiting; and seizures.
- Heat stroke can kill. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.
- Do not give fluids
- Rapidly cool the person by immersing them up to their neck in cool water when possible, or you can douse or spray them with cool water.
- Sponge the affected person with ice water-doused towels over the entire body, rotating the towels often.
- Cover the affected person with bags of ice.
- If you are not able to measure and monitor the person’s temperature, apply one of the rapid cooling methods listed above for 20 minutes or until the person’s condition improves.
Have a safe summer by taking the heat seriously. Drink lots of water and remember the early warning signs of heat related illnesses.
Read the full American Red Cross article here.
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