With temperatures expected this week to reach the mid 90s throughout the region, County health officials are warning the public to take precautions to avoid heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses.
“Even short periods of exposure to high temperatures can cause serious health problems,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “Doing too much on a hot day, spending too much time in the sun, or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, exhaustion and cramps.”
To avoid heat-related problems, health officials recommend the following:
- Stay in an air-conditioned area during the hottest hours of the day
- Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
- Drink plenty of water (avoid alcohol and sugary drinks) often and don’t wait until you are thirsty
- Never leave a child, elderly person or pet unattended in a car
- Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities outside during the hottest part of the day
- Avoid unnecessary sun exposure and wear a wide-brim hat if you need to be in the sun
An extremely high body temperature (103 or higher), dizziness, nausea, confusion and headache are signs of heat stroke or exhaustion.
If you see these signs, have someone call 9-1-1 while you begin cooling the victim by:
- Getting the victim to a shaded area
- Immersing the victim in a tub of cool water, cool shower or spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose
- Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts
- Do not give the victim fluids to drink
Elderly people, especially 65 years and older, infants and children and people with chronic medical conditions are more prone to heat stress. Neighbors of the elderly, especially those living alone, should check on their well-being.
If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, go to a public place such as a shopping mall, library or senior center to stay cool.
The County operates a Cool Zones program and has designated more than 100 air-conditioned buildings as cooling centers. They can easily be identified by a light blue Polar Bear Cool Zone logo. Call 2-1-1 or visit www.CoolZones.org for a list of locations.