Protect yourself, others from heat-related illness during hot weather
Vancouver, Wash. – Public Health officials are urging residents to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses during the upcoming hot weather.
The extreme temperatures can create a risk to health and safety.
“Elderly people and young children are especially vulnerable during intense heat,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer. “We encourage everyone to avoid or limit physical activity outdoors, take shelter in air-conditioned buildings and drink plenty of fluids.”
Here are some additional steps to take to prevent heat-related illness:
- Drink more water and other nonalcoholic fluids, regardless of your activity level.
- Limit intake of drinks with caffeine, alcohol or lots of sugar.
- Stay indoors, in an air-conditioned location, as much as possible.
- Never leave a person, especially a young child, or a pet in a parked vehicle. Temperatures can rise rapidly in parked vehicles, even with the windows rolled down.
- Fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Cool off in the shower or bath or move to an air-conditioned place.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.
If you need to be outside, take these precautions:
- Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours when temperatures are cooler and drink two to four glasses of nonalcoholic fluids each hour.
- Check on co-workers while working outdoors.
- Rest often in shady areas.
- Wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses; apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.
Knowing the signs of heat illness is important. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Warning signs of heat stroke include body temperature above 103 degrees; red, hot and dry skin (no sweating); rapid pulse; throbbing headache; nausea; dizziness; and confusion.
If you see any of these signs, call 911. Place the victim in a bath or cool shower or spray the person with cool water from a garden hose. Do not give the person fluids to drink.
Less severe heat-related illnesses include heat exhaustion and muscle cramps. Signs are heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, headache and vomiting. Drink nonalcoholic, cool beverages. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.
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