Beat the Heat: CDC gives tips to prevent heat-related illnesses

The sun shining bright.
The sun shining bright.(WCAX)
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 4:33 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - With temperatures rising and high humidity coming, the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department advises everyone to take special precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Heat exhaustion and heat strokes are some of the illnesses people can face if not precautious.

“Exposure to excessive heat can pose a serious health risk for all people, especially for the elderly, the very young, and those with chronic health problems,” said Eric Zgodzinski, Health Commissioner. “Heat related illnesses are preventable if precautions are taken.”

Here are some tips to follow during periods of high temperatures and high humidity:

Be a good neighbor:

  • Family, friends and neighbors are urged to check on the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions as they are at the highest risk.
  • Encourage them to stay in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible.
  • Recommend that they take cool showers or baths.
  • Tell them to seek medical care immediately if they have symptoms of heat-related illnesses like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

Drink cool fluids:

  • Hydrate with water to help your body sweat and cool down.
  • Adults should drink 8-ounce glasses of water each day – may need to drink more on hot and humid days.
  • Drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Avoid fluids that contain alcohol or caffeine because they can add to dehydration and increase the effects of heat illness.

Monitor or limit outdoor activities:

  • Plan outdoor activities for early in the morning or evening when the sun is less direct.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
  • Wide-brimmed hat help protect against sunburn and helps keep the body cooler.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect against UV-A and UV-B rays and has an SPF of at least 15.
  • Move to shade or into an air-conditioned building at the first signs of heat illness.
  • Very young children may get distracted with outdoor play and not realize they’re getting overheated. Adults should require frequent play breaks and bring them inside for a cool drink.
  • Children and youth involved in team sports should be monitored closely for signs of heat stress. Consider shifting practices and games to cooler times of the day.

Know the signs of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Heaving sweating, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache and cold, pale, or clammy skin.
  • People experiencing heat should move to a cool place, loosen clothes, drink water and put cool cloths on their body.
  • Medical help should be contacted if the individual is throwing up or have worsening symptoms lasing long than one hour.

Know the signs of a Heat Stroke:

  • A heat stroke is a potentially life-threatening condition. Characteristics of a heat stroke include, body temperature of 103 degrees high, red, hot and dry skin with no sweating, rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, unconsciousness and gray skin color.
  • Call 911
  • Cool the victim by any means possible like spraying a garden hose or placing the person in a cool tub of water.

Don’t forget your pets:

  • Animals kept outdoors should be given plenty of fresh water and a covered area to cool down.
  • Never leave pets in vehicles, even if the windows are cracked open. Interior temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees within the first ten minutes.

Additional information on heat-related illness can be found on CDC’s website.

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