- Be aware of days of extreme heat predictions by listening to the radio, TV and/or reading the newspaper.
- Stay indoors and avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Use air conditioners; swamp coolers or keep electrical fans running.
- Wear light colored, lightweight and loose fitting clothing.
- Have reserve supply of bottled water.
- Have flashlight/lantern available for lighting with extra supply of batteries.
- Develop a summer safety emergency plan including key information and phone numbers for family/friend contacts, physicians, hospital preference, pharmacy, and a list of current medications and any allergies.
- Avoid heat exposure as much as possible.
- Make any necessary appointments for the doctor, shopping, etc. in the morning.
- Prevent dehydration by drinking at least 6-8 glasses of fluids everyday. Good sources of fluids include fruit juices, water, caffeine free beverages, milk, punch and Kool-Aid. Fluids that are NOT adequate sources include coffee, soda containing caffeine, tea and alcohol.
- Know what to do when you get overheated and take heat seriously. Health concerns could occur with the rise in temperature and may include heat cramps, heat fatigue, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.
General signs and symptoms of heat related health problems include: weakness, dizziness, nausea, and/or muscle cramps.
For heat cramps, heat fatigue, or heat syncope you should stop the activity which caused the symptoms and strive to move to a cooler environment as feasible. If you have other medical concerns, you should contact your physician.
For heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention. Do everything possible in the interim of medical advisement inclusive of moving to a cooler environment as feasible, minimize activity, drink water or juice, and use cool wet cloths on the body.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT STROKE INCLUDE SUDDEN HIGH TEMPERATURE, HEADACHE, RAPID HEARTBEAT, DIFFICULTY BREATHING, RAPID BREATHING, PROFUSE SWEATING, MUSCLE RIGIDITY, CONFUSION/ALTERED MENTAL STATUS AND/OR POSSIBLE SEIZURES.
For heat stroke, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY, as this is a medical emergency. Be sure to move to a cooler environment as feasible, apply cold-water compresses to the body or immerse your body in cool water while waiting for medical transport.