June 25, 2010 –
MAYETTA: Paul Juedes, from the Potawatomi Fire Department, has reported that the National Weather Service is issuing a Heat Advisory for the next few days with the heat index well over 100 degrees for Saturday. The fire department has already responded to a couple of calls involving elders that were in their home, fairly inactive, but were having medical issues due to the fact that they had their windows open and were not utilizing air conditioning. The home was very hot and humid and they had become dehydrated due to the fact that they were consuming coffee and tea and not enough clear liquids.
The department would like to encourage everyone with elderly family members or neighbors to check on them throughout this hot summer heat and make sure that they are utilizing air conditioning, if they have it available to them, or make other arrangements for them to stay cool and hydrated with clear liquids, and encourage them to limit their intake of caffeinated beverages that may cause them to become more dehydrated.
Below are some helpful hints for us all to remember during these Hot Dog Days of Summer!
- As the sweltering summer heat sweeps the nation, the fire department wants to remind everyone to take precautions against heat related incidents. So many simple measures can be taken to significantly reduce the chance of getting heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The fire department encourages drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks while working outside. Staying inside and avoiding strenuous activity is also recommended.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 400 Americans die each year due to summer’s sweltering heat. Furthermore, the National Weather Service asserts that excessive heat was the number one weather-related killer, causing more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms and extreme cold from 1994 to 2003.
- Everyone is at risk when temperatures rise above 90 degrees but the elderly and the very young are most susceptible to heat and heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses can cause serious injury and even death if unattended.
Signs of heat-related illnesses include:
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<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>flushed or pale skin
<!–[if !supportLists]–>· <!–[endif]–>heavy sweating and headaches
Victims of heat-related illness should be moved to a cool place, given cool water to drink and ice packs or cool wet cloths should be applied to the skin. If a victim refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.
Heat Safety Tips:
- Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
- Drink water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
- Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.
- Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 and 7 a.m.
- Stay indoors when possible. If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Remember that electric fans do not cool, they simply circulate the air.
- Be a good neighbor. During heat waves, check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning.
- Learn American Heart Association first aid and CPR.
Know What These Heat-Related Terms Mean:
- Heat cramps: Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are an early signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
- Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim may suffer heat stroke. Signals of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale flushed or red skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.
- Heat stroke: Also known as sunstroke, heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high—sometimes as high as 105 degrees.
General Care for Heat Emergencies:
- Heat cramps or heat exhaustion: Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. If the person is fully awake and alert, give half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not let him or her drink too quickly. Do not give liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths, such as towels or sheets. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if the person refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness.
- Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation! Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body. Immerse victim in a cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. Watch for signals of breathing problems. Keep the person lying down and continue to cool the body any way you can. If the victim refuses water or is vomiting or there are changes in the level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink.