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  • Last modified 3360 days ago (July 8, 2009)

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Get ready: Heat on the rise

ool July 4th, temperatures are forecasted to climb above 100 degrees this week, so residents should take precautions to keep cool.

Temperatures are likely to reach the century mark Friday and remain in the high 90s or low 100s through July 16.

Extreme heat can put anyone in danger, but certain groups have a higher risk. Extra care should be taken with children 4 or younger, adults over 65, anyone with a chronic health condition, people taking certain medications, and those who work or exercise in extreme heat.

Know the symptoms

Heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are risks of extreme temperatures.

  • Heat stress includes faintness, painful muscle spasms and cramps, and prickly heat caused by a skin rash from clogged pores. Heat stress is caused by loss of fluids and minerals in the body needed for proper muscle function.
  • Heat exhaustion, which is more serious, includes headache, dizziness, clammy skin, muscle fatigue, chest pain, breathing problems, and nausea. Medical attention is necessary if these conditions persist.
  • Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that should be considered an emergency. Headache, hot and dry skin, temperature of 103 degrees or higher, rapid and shallow breathing, disorientation, and changes in consciousness all are symptoms of heat stroke. The person should be quickly cooled with cold, wet sheets or a cool bath, and taken to the nearest hospital.

Stay cool

Follow these steps to minimize the risk of heat-related illnesses.

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages which dehydrate the body. Drink at least a gallon of water per day when spending time outdoors.
  • Wear loose and light-colored clothing.
  • When children play outdoors dress them lightly, make sure they take frequent breaks indoors, and drink plenty of fluids. A child should never be left in a hot, closed car or near a sunny window. Also, young children should wear a sunscreen of SPF 50 to reduce their risk of sunburn. Infants should have very little or no contact with sunlight.
  • Friends, relatives, and neighbors of elderly people should periodically visit them during the summer months and take them to a cooler environment if needed.
  • Take cool showers.
  • Take frequent breaks to cool off.
  • Eat light meals of fruits and salads. Eat apricots, bananas, cantaloupes, oranges, beans, broccoli, potatoes, and tomatoes to increase potassium.
  • Schedule outdoor activities for morning and evening, but avoid dawn and dusk because of the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses. When outdoors, try to stay in the shade.
  • Use sunscreen and other measures such as wearing sunglasses to limit UV radiation.
  • Create airflow in hot indoor work areas.

Last modified July 8, 2009

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