What is extreme heat?
Extreme Heat often results in the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. In most of the United States, extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In extreme heat, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. This can lead to death by overworking the human body. Remember that:
1. Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
2. Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
3. Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.
If you are under the extreme heat warning
1. Find an air-conditioned area. Try to stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
2. Avoid strenuous activities that can heat your body even more.
3. Watch for heat illnesses like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. In case you find any of them, call for an ambulance.
4. Wear light clothing of natural materials, allowing your body to breathe normally.
5. Never leave children, people, or pets in a closed car.
Prepare for the extreme heat
1. Find places in your community and public places where you can go to get cool.
2. Keep your home cool by covering 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 your home to keep the heat out, use attic fans to clear hot air, and install window air conditioners and insulate around them.
3. Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness, like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
What to do during the extreme heat?
1. Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day. The temperatures can grow sharply in the car left in the sun.
2. Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.
3. If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face. If you have a problem breathing, cover your mouth and nose too.
4. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing that allows your body to breathe normally.
5. 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.
6. Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 35 degrees celsius, 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.
7. Avoid high-energy activities like running, exercise and others, that heat you and dehydrate your body.
8. Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.
Recognize symptoms and respond
Know the signs of heat-related illness and the ways to respond to it:
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.
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.
Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 39 degrees) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness.
Actions: Call 112 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.