Extreme heat is when the hot weather is accompanied by high humidity and temperatures above 90 °F for three or more days. Repeated exposure to such weather can cause heat-related illnesses. Though anyone can get heat-related illnesses, elders, younger children, and those with existing health conditions are at an increased risk of being affected. That is why you must take some precautionary measures to stay safe from extreme heat.
Watch Out for the Warnings
Make sure you tune into the heat forecast and warnings and plan your outdoor activities accordingly. For example, if there is a heat warning for the next two days, avoid or limit going out during such times.
Extreme Heat Safety Tips
Follow these tips to stay safe from excessive heat:
Before Extreme Heat
- Stay updated with warnings, alerts, and public safety information before, during, and after heat emergencies
- Devise a family emergency plan.
- Have an emergency kit.
- Stay prepared for possible emergencies (installing ACs and closing windows and doors to prevent heat from entering your home)
During Extreme Heat
- Avoid strenuous activity.
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet containing nutritious, water-rich foods.
- Wear loose, light-colored, light-weight clothes.
- Plan your outdoor activities in the morning (before 11 am) and evening (after 4 pm) when temperatures are not very intense.
- Do not leave pets or children outdoors for a prolonged period.
- Drink more water to prevent dehydration.
- Use fans and ACs to stay cool while at home.
- Stay actively engaged in water-related activities.
- Be aware of heat-related illnesses and their symptoms so you can seek timely treatment.
Common Heat-Related Illnesses During Extreme Heat
Extreme heat can mostly cause the following heat-related illnesses:
It occurs when people work or do strenuous activities in hot weather. Working in a warm environment for a prolonged period will empty your body fluids, increasing the blood flow to the skin and decreasing the blood flow to vital organs, thus causing a mild shock.
Pale, moist, or flushed skin, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and headache
- Get plenty of rest.
- Wear loose clothes.
- Drink water or electrolytes every 15 minutes.
They are muscular spasms and pain resulting from heavy sweating.
Muscular spasms and pain in the abdomen or legs
- Rest in a cooler place.
- Rehydrate by consuming water and fluids.
Heat stroke is dangerous and life-threatening and usually occurs when your body organs stop functioning due to excessive heat. It can cause brain damage or death if not promptly treated.
Very high body temperature, unconsciousness, weak pulse, rapid and shallow breathing, seizures, vomiting, confusion, and hot and red skin (either dry or moist)
Get immediate medical intervention, and in the meanwhile, wrap the person in wet sheets to reduce their body temperature.
While these heat safety tips will help you stay better protected against excessive heat, knowing the symptoms of heat-related illnesses will help you act quickly if you experience them.
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