MAYVILLE, N.Y.: – Heat related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Despite this, over 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year. For the next few days, Chautauqua County will be in the grips of extreme heat - summertime temperatures that are much hotter than average and high humidity levels.
“It is critically important to stay cool, stay hydrated, and know the symptoms of heat-related illnesses,” said Christine Schuyler, County Director of Health and Human Services. “Infants, children, the elderly, and those with chronic diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure are especially at risk of heat related illnesses and death.”
- Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Stay Cool Indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to a shopping mall/store or a public library—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 temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
- Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
- Pace Yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
- Wear Sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
- Do Not Leave Children (or Pets) in Cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting a heat stroke or dying.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If your doctor limits the amount you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
- Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks - these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
- Replace Salt and Minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
- Keep Your Pets Hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets and leave it in a shady area.
Know the Signs
Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them. Heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, happen when the body is not able to properly cool itself. While the body normally cools itself by sweating, during extreme heat, this might not be enough. In these cases, a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down. This can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs.
For more information visit, www.healthyCHQ.com.