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Extreme Heat Conditions

Be prepared with tips about heat exhaustion treatment and heat stroke treatment:

Summer is a great time to go swimming and enjoy the sun, but this comes with caution. Extreme heat or five days in a row of temperatures that are 9 degrees above normal can cause dangerous health issues. However, you can plan ahead to protect yourself and your family.

For Your Home

Consider making these changes to your home to keep it cool during hot weather:

  • Install central air conditioning or window air conditioners snugly
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation
  • Weather-strip doors and windows to keep cool air inside
  • Use window treatments, such as shades and awnings, to keep extreme heat outside
  • Keep storm windows up all year
  • Install temporary window reflectors to reflect heat back outside


For Your Family

Prevention is the key for heat exhaustion protection. During a heat emergency:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible, and limit exposure to sun
  • If you don't have air conditioning, visit somewhere that does, such as a pubic library or shopping mall
  • If you need to perform physical work or work out, try to save it for early morning or evening hours.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of sunshine
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol; eat well-balanced, light and regular meals
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible; wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck from the sun
  • Make certain your pets have a cool place to rest along with plenty of water
  • Never leave children or pets in closed vehicles
  • It's especially important to watch older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight because they're the most likely to suffer from heat cramps, exhaustion or stroke.

Common Health Problems

Heat cramps

Occur with muscle pain and spasms start due to overuse. (Normally involving the abdominal muscles or legs)

Treatment:

  • Have victim rest in comfortable position
  • Lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish fluids
  • Give the victim half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes; don't give liquids that have alcohol or caffeine in them

Heat exhaustion

Occurs when people exercise or work in a hot, humid place. Blood flow to the skin increases, restricting blood flow to vital organs causing the victim to go into mild shock If not treated, the victim will continue to get worse and may suffer heat stroke.

Treatment:

  • Get the victim out of the heat and into a cooler place
  • Loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths, such as towels or sheets
  • Give the victim half a glass of water every 15 minutes, and have the individual drink it slowly; don't give liquids that have alcohol or caffeine in them
  • Let the victim rest

Heat stroke

A life-threatening condition. The victim's control system that produces sweating to cool the body stops working. When this happens, a victim's body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result.

Treatment:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number
  • Move the victim to a cooler place and quickly cool the body
  • Immerse the victim in a cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around him/her and fan the body
  • Watch for breathing problems
  • Continue to have the victim lie down and continuously try to cool the body
  • If the victim is vomiting, fading in and out of consciousness or refuses water, don't give the individual anything to eat or drink

This extreme heat information is meant to help you make decisions that may reduce your risk. Of course, we can't note every possible risk, and we can't guarantee that these tips will work for you. However, we hope that if you use some of them, you'll better protect your family and yourself.