The Heat is On! 4th of July Heat Safety tips
Summer has arrived and unleashed extremely hot and humid weather across the mid-Atlantic and southern portions of the country. In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity. Generally temperatures are 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region during summer months, last for a long period of time and occur with high humidity as well.
Although typically, in most area excessive heat doesn’t set in until early to mid-July, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. The American Red Cross has steps people can follow to stay safe during the heat wave.
What to do during the heat wave:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
- Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Ensure your animals have water and a shady place to rest.
- Have a plan for wherever you spend time— home, work and school—and prepare for the possibility of power outages.
- Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
- If you don’t have air conditioning, choose places to go to for relief from the heat during the hottest part of the day – schools, libraries, theaters, malls.
- Be aware that people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than are people living in rural areas.
How to help someone having trouble with the heat:
The extreme heat can cause physical difficulties which, in some instances, can be life-threatening. Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms in the legs or abdomen caused by exposure to high heat and humidity and loss of fluids and electrolytes. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat. To help someone with heat cramps:
- Get them to a cooler place and have them rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish fluids.
- Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them, as they can make conditions worse.