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Take precautions to protect yourself during the heat wave


By Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

The heat wave gripping most of the nation is setting records for intensity and duration.

This week’s heat wave has killed at least 22 people across the United States, reports the USA Today article “Outreach Efforts Help Save Lives in Heat Wave.”

During extreme heat, the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers these guidelines for consumers to follow:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning isn’t available.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation. Find out if your community has a cooling center and stay there during extreme heat days.
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Drink plenty of water. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who don’t have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.

If someone is suffering from heat exhaustion, FEMA recommends:

  • Get the victim to lie down in a cool place.
  • Loosen or remove clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet clothes.
  • Fan or move victim to air-conditioned place.
  • Give sips of water if victim is conscious.
  • Be sure water is consumed slowly.
  • Give half glass of cool water every 15 minutes.
  • Discontinue water if victim is nauseated.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if vomiting occurs.

If a person has a heat stroke, call 9-1-1, FEMA recommends.

See FEMA’s “Are You Ready? Extreme Heat” for more first aid tips for heat-related illnesses.

Copyright 2011, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Janett Brown

I know that not all Americans can travel during this period. But, I think it will be a great idea to spend these days in another place where you can enjoy the sun and the beach without getting hurt.

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