No one is really safe when an excessive, prolonged heat wave occurs. Extreme heat conditions can dangerously push the human body beyond its ability to maintain a normal body temperature. Citizens who are most at risk for becoming ill from excessive, prolonged heat are those who are overweight, alcoholic, elderly, young, or sick.
It is important that you are aware that over-exposure to excessive heat can be fatal.
The best thing you can do when an excessive heat wave occurs is reduce outdoor activities and spend the day indoors. If you must go out during the hottest part of the day,
- Dress in light-colored, loose clothing. Stay out of the direct rays of the sun as this can add 15 degrees to the temperature.
- Use a good sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat. A sunburn reduces the skin’s ability to cool itself.
- Take plenty of water with you.
- Stay away from alcoholic beverages. Alcohol makes the heat’s effect on the human body much worse.
How To Recognize A Heat Stroke
Recognizing the symptoms associated with a Heat Stoke can actually save your life. Although not everyone suffers from the same symptoms as listed below, the most common symptoms of Heat Stroke are:
- You will start to feel sick, with a severe headache, nausea and a high fever.
- Your body will stop sweating, so your body cannot regulate its temperature.
- Your skin will become hot and dry.
- If you or people around you don’t recognize your symptoms as Heat Stroke, you will collapse and become comatose. You can possibly die.
- Other symptoms of heat stroke include dizziness, fatigue, agitation, confusion or disorientation, a rapid heartbeat, flushed skin, hallucinations, and seizures.
If a Person Collapses Due to Heat
If a person collapses due to the effects of heat, try to cool them down immediately with a garden hose or towels soaked in cool water. If they are conscious, give them water to drink. You should immediately call Campbell County Dispatch at 911 and request medical attention for the person whether they are conscious or not.
Here are some tips that can help minimize the heat’s effect on you and your family:
- Spend time in an air conditioned room, if even for only 2 hours a day. Air conditioning can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
- If your home or apartment is not air conditioned, the best place to be in your home is on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. There are also public buildings that you can go to cool down, such as a library, heat shelter, and shopping mall.
- Keep your bathtub filled with cool water so if you need to cool off, you can sit in the tub. The human body will cool down 25 times faster this way than just sitting in an air-conditioned room. Remember that small children need supervision in a bathtub, so never leave them alone.
- Keep inside window shades drawn and close the blinds to keep the heat out. Keep lights turned off or on low, if needed.
- Eat small meals frequently and avoid high-protein foods High protein foods can increase the body’s metabolic heat.
- Citizens with chronic illnesses that require regular use of medications should check with their physicians to discuss how to handle the hot weather. Certain prescription medications can reduce the body’s ability to sweat, making it difficult to cool down. Some over-the-counter medications, like those that treat Hay Fever, can also reduce the body’s ability to sweat.
The best way to avoid a Heat Stroke is to avoid going outdoors, or staying outdoors for a prolonged period of time, during the hottest part of the day.
Also, drink plenty of water so your body can maintain its normal temperature.
If you feel a Heat Stoke may be occurring, immediately call 911.