Heat - Related Health and Safety Tips
GET COOL OR GET HELP NOW IF YOU FEEL:
| Headache | Muscle Cramps | Weakness | Nausea or Vomiting
CALL 9-1-1 FOR THESE SYMPTOMS:
Hot, dry skin | Confusion | Unconscious | Chest Pains |
Shortness of Breath
Warm temperatures combined with high humidity levels can pose a risk of heat-related illness and
death. Extreme heat is described as temperatures that hover 10 degrees or
more above the average high temperature for the region and last for several
weeks. Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high
temperatures, occur when a "dome" of high atmospheric pressure
traps hazy, damp air near the ground.
Although anyone at any time can suffer from
heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others.
- Infants and children up to four years of age are sensitive to the
effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their
environments and provide adequate liquids.
- People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress
efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in
- People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of
their tendency to retain more body heat.
- People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated
and susceptible to heat sickness.
- People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high
blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for
depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme
In Wisconsin, generally when temperatures approach or go above 90° F, the following actions are recommended:
- Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day. If such
activity is unavoidable, drink plenty of fluids and take frequent
breaks in air-conditioned or shaded areas. Consider monitoring body
weight and oral temperature. A weight loss of more than 2 lbs. or an
oral temperature above 99° F is cause for concern.
- Do not leave anyone - children, disabled individuals, pets - in cars for
even brief periods. Temperatures can rise to life-threatening levels
in a matter of minutes.
- Make frequent checks on the status of elderly or ill relatives or
neighbors. If necessary, move them to an air-conditioned environment
during the hottest part of the day.
- To avoid dehydration, a conscious effort should be made to drink
more fluids during hot weather. Rapid weight loss may be a sign of
dehydration. Don't drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol,
or large amounts of sugar—these actually cause you to lose more body
- Use fans to increase ventilation. If the temperatures exceed 90° F,
instead of having a fan blow hot air in from a window, have the fan
blow the hot air to the outside. At extreme high
temperatures, a fan loses its ability to effectively reduce heat-related illness.
- Cool showers, baths, and sponge baths can be used to reduce body
temperatures. In addition, wet clothing has a cooling effect.
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For more information, contact your Local Public Health Department.
July 14, 2014