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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2012

 

CONTACT: Beth Kaplan , (608) 266-1683

STATE OFFICIALS ISSUE HEAT-RELATED PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY

High Temperatures Can Cause Heat-related Illness

MADISON—State health officials have issued a public health advisory due to forecasts calling for temperatures this week in the mid to upper 90s, with heat indices ranging from 95 to 105 degrees.

“We are asking everyone to take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion, and to check on their family, friends and neighbors who may be especially vulnerable to extreme heat,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. “By making everyone aware of safety measures and helping them recognize the warning signs of heat exhaustion, we can prevent heat-related illness and death.”

Most heat-related illnesses involve the elderly or individuals who have chronic illnesses, although children, athletes and outdoor workers are also at risk. People with a history of asthma should avoid strenuous activity and follow the DNR air quality alerts and advisories. (http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/AirQuality/).

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include fainting, rash, fatigue and nausea, and the skin may become clammy and moist or hot and dry. If these symptoms appear, take immediate actions to reduce body temperature.

When temperatures are above 90° F, the following actions are recommended:

• 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.

• Use fans to increase ventilation unless temperatures exceed 90° F, at which point fans become ineffective in reducing heat-related illness.

• Cool showers, baths and sponge baths can be used to reduce body temperatures. Wet clothing also has a cooling effect.

• Spend the hottest part of the day in a cool, preferably air-conditioned place. If you do not have air conditioning at home, try to get to a location that does, such as a public library, community center, or a shopping mall, or visit a nearby cooling center. For information about a cooling center near you, dial 2-1-1.

• 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.

Symptoms such as dizziness, weakness and fatigue are early warning signs that should not be ignored. The onset of heat stroke can be rapid and may progress to life-threatening illness within minutes. Serious cases require emergency medical care.

Never leave anyone unattended in cars, especially children or any pets. The temperature inside a car can rise to life-threatening levels in a matter of minutes, even with windows cracked open.

Strenuous activity should be avoided 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.

For more information on heat-related health concerns, visit these websites: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/health/injuryprevention/WeatherRelated/Heat.htm.

Extreme Heat, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/.

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Last Revised:  February 12, 2014