Capital Area Chapter Blog

American Red Cross

Fight Extreme Heat!

Keep Cool in Hot Weather      

People in Florida know hot weather. When summertime comes, temperatures can become substantially hotter. Hot weather results from an area of high pressure interfering with the normal flow of the wind which moderates our temperatures. The air of high pressure is sinking, so it prevents the hot air around the ground from rising, and also, prevents the sea breeze from bringing cool air in. Humid conditions can add to our discomfort since our bodies cannot cool off through sweating.

Watch out for the following heat-related illnesses during long periods of hot weather:

Heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions, mainly affecting the calves, quadriceps and abdominals. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch, but your body temperature may be normal.

Heat exhaustion. Under conditions of heat exhaustion, your body temperature rise as high as 104 F and you may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, this can result in heatstroke.

Heatstroke. Consider a life-threatening emergency condition when your body temperature is greater than 104 F. Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. You may develop confusion and irritability. Immediate medical attention is needed to prevent brain damage, organ failure, or even death.

Please pay attention to Heat Advisories and Warnings issued by the National Weather Service when the combination of heat and humidity causes the heat index to reach dangerous levels.

What to Do in Hot Weather

  • Make sure to wear lightweight and light-colored clothing.
  • Limit your outdoor activities.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Replace salt and minerals.
  • Apply sunscreen before exposure to the sun.
  • Check on the elderly, young children, and animals during longer periods of heat.

Keep Warm in Cold Weather

Although Florida is a sunshine state, freezing temperatures can still affect residents. During the cold season, cold high pressure from Canada or the northern plains moves into the south and affects the water that moderates the temperature of the state. The National Weather Service will issue wind chill warnings, freeze warnings, hard freeze warnings, and frost advisories if cold weather reaches the level which will cause a threat.

Dangers which result from the exposure of cold weather are:

Hypothermia. When your body loses heat faster than it can be produced on cold weather, you may have hypothermia.

Frostbite. Freezing can cause an injury to the body, which results in frostbite. A loss of feeling and color in parts of the body are produced.

Carbon Monoxide. Never use generators, grills, camp stoves in your house, basement, or garage.

Power Outages. Prepare for and deal with a situation when power is suddenly out.

Fires. If you plan to use a wood stove, fireplace, or space heater, be extremely careful.You mot

What to Do in Cold Weather

  • Wear hat, mittens (warmer than gloves), several layers of loose-fitting clothing or sleeves that are snug at the wrist.
  • Stay indoors and use a safe heating source.
  • Don’t overexert yourself when outdoors. Your heart already works overtime to keep you warm.
  • If you must go outside, dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves. Try to stay dry and out of the wind.
  • Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.

For more information about what you can do on cold weather, please visit http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/pdf/cold_guide.pdf.

Resources for researching this article:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ00316

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp

http://floridadisaster.org/kids/index2.htm

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/

http://www.vdh.state.va.us/weather/ColdWeatherSafety.htm

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This entry was posted on February 3, 2012 by in Preparedness.

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