Red Cross Urges Safety as Temperatures Rise
An early heatwave is expected to send temperatures near triple digits this week, bringing with them the potential for heat-related health risks. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to stay safe as the temperatures rise.
“Excessive heat can be deadly, so it is important to understand the risks and take appropriate precautions to protect your health,” said Kathleen Weis, CEO for the Red Cross Capital Region. “From staying hydrated, to learning signs of heat illnesses and how to respond, there are a number of simple things we can do to protect our health and safety during times of high temperatures.”
NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN, PETS IN THE CAR, the inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Other heat safety steps include:
• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
• Avoid extreme temperature changes.
• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
• Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
• Postpone outdoor games and activities.
• Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
• Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
• If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).
Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
HEAT CRAMPS. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.
HEAT EXHAUSTION. If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.
Steps residents can take to stay cool:
Slow Down - Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily at home.
Dress for Summer - Lightweight light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
Eat Right - Fruits and vegetables help the body maintain an appropriate balance. Avoid fatty foods that can cause the body to increase metabolic heat production which increases water loss.
Stay Hydrated - Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic fluids. Your body needs to keep cool and drinking even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy, heart/kidney or liver disease, are on fluid-restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.
For more information on what to do when temperatures rise, download the FREE Red Cross First Aid. The app is available for iPhone and Android smart phone and tablet users in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. You can also visit redcross.org, download the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist. People can learn how to treat heat-related and other emergencies by taking First Aid and CPR/AED training online or in person. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.
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