HOW TO STAY SAFE: An excessive heat warning is in effect Thursday
It’s expected to be dangerously hot Thursday, with air temperatures expected to reach the 90s and the heat index could exceed 100 degrees. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke.
Lori Fox is the public information officer for Greene County Public Health. She says we should all do three things to stay safe from the heat.
Lori Fox: Number one, stay calm. Staying cool means staying in air-conditioned buildings if you have them. Local libraries are great places to escape the heat. Don’t rely on just a fan because all it will do is replace the warm air circulating in your home if you don’t have an air conditioner. So don’t just rely on that. If you can find another way to make it cooler, do so.
Limit your outdoor activity. The middle part of the day is the hottest. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, take a cool shower or bath to lower your body temperature, and adjust curtains, shades, blinds, awnings, and anything that prevents sunlight from entering your home.
Check on your friends, family and neighbors who are most at risk. Check them several times a day.
Number two, stay hydrated. Drink more than usual. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. This is your body’s first sign that you are starting to become dehydrated. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. You should drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside. Avoid any alcohol or liquids that contain high amounts of sugar, and make sure your family, friends and neighbors drink enough water too.
And number three, stay informed. Check your local news for extreme heat warnings and other safety tips. You can visit your local public health agency’s website. You can visit our website for more information and tips for preventing heat sickness. And be sure to keep your family, friends and neighbors informed of any weather alerts or safety information that may appear.
Mike Frazier: You mentioned not drinking alcoholic or sugary drinks to stay hydrated. Why?
the Fox: It will make you thirstier and will not help your body absorb this water and use it for its intended purpose, which is to hydrate your body. So it is always better to stay away from those. In fact, alcohol can dehydrate you even more. So, yeah, definitely stay away from those things. During the heat, water is always your best option.
Frasier: What if someone has a high temperature and is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke? What does that mean and what are the differences?
the Fox: I’ll give you heat exhaustion first. Symptoms include heavy sweating and weakness. Your skin may be cold, pale and clammy. You have a very weak pulse, you could faint, you could vomit. If they are experiencing some of these symptoms, move to a cooler place, lie down, and loosen your clothes a little. If you have access to cool, wet clothing, cover your body as much as possible. Sip water. Our first instinct is to just swallow. This won’t help. Sip water. Let your body have time to absorb it. If you have vomiting and it persists, you definitely want to seek medical care right away.
Heatstroke is definitely a medical emergency. This is something you want to watch very carefully. You want to call 911 immediately if you experience symptoms. Symptoms include body temperatures above 103 degrees Fahrenheit; Hot, red, dry, or even clammy skin. Fast and strong pulse. And the possibility of losing consciousness. If someone exhibits any of these symptoms, they should call 911 immediately. If you want to move the person to a cooler environment, reduce that person’s body temperature with a cold washcloth or an ice bath if you can. Do not give fluids at this point. Once emergency personnel get there, they will take over. Do not give them fluids. Emergency personnel will care for that person from that point on.
Frasier: What about hot cars – leaving kids or pets in a hot car?
Small children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances, temperature or otherwise. But this is especially true during those hot days we can sometimes experience during the summer months when car interior temperatures reach lethal temperatures in just minutes. This is very dangerous. Every year we often hear stories of children who died because they were left in the car or even pets who died due to the heat.
It is very important to make sure our loved ones are taken care of during these difficult hot days.