Stay safe in hot weather

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2014

No one could have imagined it a few months ago, but heat index values of 102 are predicted for Wednesday and Thursday by the National Weather Service.

A heat index above 100 degrees is a dangerous situation, especially for infants, older people and medically fragile residents.

The city of Suffolk provided the following tips to help folks keep cool and stay safe:

  • Check on elderly family members and neighbors to make sure they have a cool place to go if they have no air conditioning.
  • During extreme temperatures, fans alone are not enough to prevent heat-related illnesses. Cold baths or showers can help cool you down.
  • Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages and increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars. Temperatures inside a car can reach more than 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.
  • Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Take a cool shower or a bath. Consider a trip to the mall or a local library or visit a friend with air conditioning. Spending at least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly reduces the number of heat-related illnesses.
  • Drink at least two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour. To replace salt and minerals lost from sweating, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or when you have to work outside. However, talk to your doctor first if you’re on a fluid-restricted diet or medications, or on a low-salt diet.
  • Avoid sunburn and wear light clothing. Sunburn limits your body’s ability to keep itself cool and causes loss of body fluids. Use sunscreen with a higher SPF. Lighter-weight clothing that is loose fitting and light colored is more comfortable during extreme temperatures. Use a hat to keep the head cool.
  • Give your body a break, as the heat wave can be stressful on your body. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
  • Use the “buddy system” if you’re working outside. If you’re working outside and suffer a heat-related illness, you could become confused or could lose consciousness. Therefore, make sure someone else knows of your plans.
  • Know the symptoms of heat-related illness. Heat exhaustion causes heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; and fainting. If you have these symptoms, move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen your clothing, apply cool, wet clothes to as much of your body as possible and sip water. Heatstroke causes a high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit); hot, red, dry or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse; and possible unconsciousness. Heatstroke is a medical emergency — call 911 immediately, move the person to a cooler environment, reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or a bath and do not give fluids.

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