Heat Precautions

We're Having A Heat Wave, A Tropical Heat Wave

From the Washington Regional Threat & Analysis Center:

The Northeast Region of the country is in the middle of a record breaking triple-digit heat wave and Washington area residents and visitors to the Nation’s Capital are feeling the effects in a major way. Looking for a good way to cool off? The DC Recreation Centers, DC Public Libraries and Senior Wellness Centers are all great places to beat the heat and are open to the public. These locations provide not only a cool place to rest but also provide water and activities. Visit http://www.dc.gov/ to find a location near you. The difference between an excessive heat advisory and a warning is that an excessive heat ADVISORY means that extreme heat is likely. An excessive heat WARNING means that extreme heat is likely and can pose a threat to life if proper precautions are not taken. In the event of extreme heat, you should take the following precautions:
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Turn on the air-conditioner or fan.
  • DO NOT leave children or pets in vehicles.
  • Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water.
  • Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar as these can cause dehydration.
  • Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothes.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside (SPF 15-30 is best).
  • Limit exposure to the sun (the sun is most powerful between 10 am and 3 pm).
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Be aware of signs of heat-related illness such as dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
  • When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
  • To reduce risk during outdoor work the occupational safety and health administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments.
  • Move anyone overcome by heat to a cool and shaded location.

It’s important to also be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. During this record breaking heat wave, knowing how to avoid heatstroke and heat exhaustion which can easily develop from the hot and humid conditions typically associated with triple digit temperatures is critical.

Heat Stroke - Heatstroke is a serious illness characterized by a body temperature greater than 105 degrees. Symptoms may include dry red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Onset of heatstroke can be rapid: a person can go from feeling apparently well to a seriously ill condition within minutes. Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath or wet towels.

Heat Exhaustion - Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heatstroke that may develop due to a combination of several days with high temperatures and dehydration in an individual. Signs of heat exhaustion include extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, or headache. Also, victims may vomit or faint. Heat exhaustion is treated with plenty of liquids and rest in a cool, shaded area. Those on a low-sodium diet or with other health problems should contact a doctor.

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