Tips for staying safe during a heat wave as the temperature rises

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Friday, July 17, 2020
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More than 600 people die each year from heat-related complications in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Follow these tips from AccuWeather to make sure you stay safe during a heat wave as the temperature rises.

More than 600 people die each year from heat-related complications in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Here's more from Ready.gov on what you need to do to stay safe:

WARNINGS

-Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.

-Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.

-Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

PREPARE

-Find places in your community where you can go to get cool.

-Keep your home cool by doing the following:

-Cover windows with drapes or shades.

-Weather-strip doors and windows.

-Use window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.

-Add insulation to keep the heat out.

-Use attic fans to clear hot air.

-Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.

-Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness.

SAFETY

-Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day.

-Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.

-If you're outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.

-Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

-Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If you or someone you care for is on a special diet, ask a doctor how best to accommodate it.

-Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees, as this could increase the risk of heat-related illness.

-Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.

-Avoid high-energy activities.

-Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.

ILLNESS

-Know the signs of heat-related illness and the ways to respond to it:

HEAT CRAMPS

-Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs

-Actions: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.

HEAT EXHAUSTION

-Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or fainting

-Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.

HEAT STROKE

-Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness

-Actions: Call 911 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.

  • Check the local forecast in your area. If you know a heatwave is coming, you might want to postpone any outdoor activities.
  • Stay indoors during the hottest time of the day. If you do go outside, drink plenty of water.
  • Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, which will dehydrate you.
  • Wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing. Lighter colors repel sunlight.
  • Make sure you're eating enough, but keep your meals small. You'll have consistent energy to help you throughout the day.

SEE ALSO: What is a heat wave? How heat waves form and temperatures climb