Dealing with Extreme Heat
Preparing For Extreme
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.
- Contact your local
emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for information on
- Install window air
- Close any floor heat
- Insulate spaces around
air conditioners for a tighter fit.
- Use a circulating or
box fan to spread the cool air.
Keep heat outside and cool
- Install temporary
reflectors, such as aluminum foil covered cardboard, to reflect any heat
back outside. Keep the cool air inside by weather-stripping doors and
- Consider keeping storm
windows up all year. Storm windows can keep the heat of a house in the
summer the same way they keep the cold out in the winter.
- Check air-conditioning
ducts for proper insulation.
- Protect windows. Hang
shades, draperies, awnings, or louvers on windows that receive morning or
afternoon sun. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat entering the
house by as much as 80 percent. Conserve electricity.
- During periods of
extreme heat, people tend to use a lot more power for air conditioning which
can lead to a power shortage or outage. Stay indoors as much as possible. If
air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the
sunshine. Remember that electric fans do not cool, they just blow hot air
- Eat well-balanced,
- Drink plenty of water
regularly. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are
on fluid-restrictive diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should
consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
- Limit intake of
alcoholic beverages. Although beer and alcohol beverages appear to satisfy
thirst, they actually cause further body dehydration.
- Dress in loose-fitting
clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Lightweight, light-colored
clothing that reflects heat and sunlight and helps maintain normal body
- Protect face and head
by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
- Allow your body to get
acclimated to hot temperatures for the first 2 or 3 days of a heat wave.
- Avoid too much
sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin's ability to cool itself. Use a sunscreen
lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
- Avoid extreme
temperature changes. A cool shower immediately after coming in from hot
temperatures can result in hypothermia, particularly for elderly and very
- Slow down. Reduce,
eliminate, or reschedule strenuous activities. High-risk individuals should
stay in cool places. Get plenty of rest to allow your natural "cooling
system" to work.
- Take salt tablets only
if specified by your physician. Persons on salt-restrictive diets should
check with a physician before increasing salt intake.
- Vacuum air conditioner
filters weekly during periods of high use.
- Learn the symptoms of heat
disorders and know how to give first aid.
During a Drought
- Lower water use.
Watering the lawn and washing the car waste water. Whenever possible, re-use
- Place a brick or other
large, solid object in the flush tank of the toilet to reduce the water used
- Farmers should contact
the county Farm Service Agency for disaster assistance information.
- 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.
- Heat Cramps
- 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.
- Heat Exhaustion
- 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.
- Heat Stroke (Sun
- 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 emergency medical services 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.
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