Doing too much on a hot day, spending too much time in the sun or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat-related illnesses. Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
Temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region and last for several weeks are defined as extreme heat.
Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a "dome" of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground. Excessively dry and hot conditions can provoke dust storms and low visibility.
Droughts occur when a long period passes without any substantial rainfall. A heat wave combined with a drought is a very dangerous situation.
Install window air conditioners snugly.
Keep heat outside and cool air inside.
Stay indoors as much as possible.
Eat well-balanced, light meals. Drink plenty of water regularly.
Dress in loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
Allow your body to get acclimated to hot temperatures for the first 2 or 3 days of a heat wave.
Avoid too much sunshine.
Avoid extreme temperature changes.
Take salt tablets only if specified by your physician.
Vacuum air conditioner filters weekly during periods of high use.
Learn the symptoms of heat disorders and know how to give first aid.
Symptoms: Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever, headaches.
First Aid: Take a shower, using soap, to remove oils that may block pores preventing the body from cooling naturally. If blisters occur, apply dry, sterile dressings and get medical attention.
Symptoms: Painful spasms usually in leg and abdominal muscles. Heavy sweating.
First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue.
Symptoms: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale, and clammy. Weak pulse. Normal temperature possible. Fainting, vomiting.
First Aid: Get victim to lie down in a cool place. Loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air-conditioned place. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue. If vomiting occurs, seek immediate medical attention.
Symptoms: High body temperature (106 +). Hot, dry skin. Rapid, strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Victim will likely not sweat.
First Aid: Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal. Move victim to a cooler environment. Try a cool bath or sponging to reduce body temperature. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing. Use fans and/or air conditioners. DO NOT GIVE FLUIDS.
Lower water use. Watering the lawn and washing the car waste water. Whenever possible, re-use water. Place a brick or other large, solid object in the flush tank of the toilet to reduce the water used to flush. Farmers should contact the county Farmers Home Administration Office for disaster assistance information.
All areas in the United States are at risk of drought at any time of the year. Drought gripped much of the West and Midwest from 1987 to 1991. The Missouri River Basin and California.
Information compiled from the Federal Emegency Management Agency.
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