Summertime Extreme Heat Warnings

Summertime Extreme Heat Warnings

Elderly people and individuals with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk of developing heat related illness.  Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat related illness and death. Did you know that homebound persons without air conditioning are at an even greater risk for developing symptoms of heat stroke? If you have an elderly or medically compromised family member, friend, or neighbor, check on them twice each day to make sure they are staying cool and drinking adequate fluids.  Here are a few practical tips to keep in mind.

Preventative measures to avoid health issues in hot weather:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages and increase your fluid intake regardless of your activity level. A lack of hydration is the primary cause of heat stroke.
  • Wear lightweight, loose fitting clothing.
  • Rest frequently when performing your daily activities.
  • Avoid hot foods and heavy meals – they add heat to your body.

Warning signs of heat stress:

  • Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating observed)
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

Recommendations when temperatures are in the high 90’s:

  • Stay indoors, and if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider staying with a family member, friend, or neighbor who has air conditioning.  Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperatures are in the high 90’s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.  If you can’t move into an air-conditioned space, taking a cool shower or bath is a much better way to cool off.
  • Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.