What You Need to Know for Heat Safety Awareness Day

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Heat is one of the leading killers related to weather-deaths in the United States.Chances are, your city will be hit by a heat wave this summer. And while playing out in the sun can be fun, it loses its appeal once you consider that heat is one of the leading killers related to weather-deaths in the United States. Most summers, there will be a heat wave that goes through your city, bringing you very high temperatures, a lot of humidity, and possible dryness in the air. Forecasters use a heat index to determine if the expected temperatures need to be classified as a heat wave. The index takes into account the temperature, the humidity, and how hot it really feels.

PLUS: Why you should shield your eyes from the sun

Here’s what you need to know:

Pay attention to weather reports announcing a heat wave. If a heat wave is expected, you’ll hear about it on the news. You want to see if an “Excessive Heat Outlook” is announced—those announcements will give you three to seven days of notice, enough time to prepare. If an “Excessive Heat Watch” is announced, that means you have 24 to 72 hours to get ready. If forecasters call for an “Excessive Heat Warning/Advisory” then you have 36 hours or less until the heat wave comes.

Notice the symptoms. Heat-related illnesses range from heat cramps, to heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. When the temperature is too high and there is a lot of humidity in the air, your body won’t be able to cool itself as easily. If you spend a significant amount of time outdoors during these periods, you’ll likely sweat and dehydrate, again affecting your body’s ability to cool down. Young children and older adults are more likely to feel the effects of a heat wave, as well as obese people, those with chronic illnesses like heart disease and poor circulation, people who are drinking, or those who get a sunburn. Here’s what you would feel if you suffered from heat cramps, exhausting, or heat stroke.

Heat cramps: Lots of stomach cramping, followed by excessive sweating. You want to drink water and apply pressure to the cramping areas.

Heat exhaustion: You’ll feel dizzy, nauseous, and weak, and be heavily sweating and have cool or clammy skin. You can still be suffering from heat exhaustion even if you don’t have a fever. To treat heat exhaustion, drink water, get indoors or in a cooler environment, drink water, and apply cooling cloths to the area that feels hot.

Heat stroke: Those having a heat stroke will have a headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and have trouble breathing. You’ll likely have a fever, high blood pulse, and be sweating. You want to move to a cool environment right away, apply cool cloths, remove thick or tight clothing in favor of looser ones, get a fan to cool down, and you can spray water on your body. Experts recommend you do not have any fluids until it passes. If it doesn’t pass after you’ve tried all these methods, then you should consider it a severe emergency and go to the hospital.

This summer, it’s easy to get caught up in the heat until it’s too late. Exercise precaution before you step outside so that you can enjoy the heat without having any negative health effects. Keep yourself cool, drink water, and don’t skip meals when you’re outdoors. When you start to feel like the heat is affecting you, get indoors right away and start cooling down. Your body and your health will thank you.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“Heat: A major killer,” National Weather Service web site; http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml, last accessed May 23, 2013.

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