Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Health Alert

Cool Ways to Protect Yourself from Heat-Related Illness


(NAPSI)—Much of the U.S. could face hotter than normal conditions this year as the climate crisis drives higher temperatures—but you can keep yourself and those you care about safe. 



Consider these facts and figures:



•2023 was the hottest year on record, and scientists warn that 2024 could break records again. 

•Since the 1960s, heat waves have become more frequent, more intense and longer lasting. 

•Heat-related deaths are on the rise. 



What You Can Do



When extreme heat blankets the country, the American Red Cross recommends you take these steps: 



1.Slow down by postponing or limiting outdoor activities, including strenuous exercise. If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks and try to schedule tasks early or late in the day. Remember, hot cars can be deadly—never leave children or pets in a vehicle. 



2.Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. Be sure animals have access to plenty of fresh water and shade. 



3.Spend time indoors in an air-conditioned place. If you don’t have air conditioning, go to a public library, shopping mall or public cooling center. Call 211 to find an open location. Check on loved ones and neighbors who may be at risk and lack air conditioning to ensure they are safe. 



Signs of Illness



You should also know how to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and what to do. It’s critical to react quickly. 



•Heat can make anyone ill, especially older adults, the very young, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions. People who work outdoors, have limited personal resources and live in places without green spaces are also at higher risk. 



•Heat cramps are an early sign of trouble and include heavy sweating with muscle pains or spasms. To help, move the person to a cooler place and encourage them to drink water. Get medical help if symptoms last longer than an hour or if the person has heart problems.



•Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition signaled by cool, pale and clammy skin; a fast or weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; tiredness or weakness; or a headache, dizziness or passing out. To help, move the person to a cooler place, loosen tight clothing and encourage them to sip water slowly. Use wet cloths, misting or fanning to cool them off. Get medical help right away if symptoms worsen or last longer than an hour, or if the person vomits or acts confused. 



•Heat stroke is a deadly condition that requires immediate medical help. Symptoms include a high body temperature; hot, red, dry or damp skin; a fast or strong pulse; a headache or dizziness; or nausea, confusion and passing out. Call 911 right away if you think someone may have heat stroke. Then move the person to a cool place, and use wet cloths, misting or fanning to help cool them off. Do not give the person anything to drink.



Extreme Weather on the Rise



Along with heat waves, the U.S. is experiencing more frequent and intense disasters. The Red Cross encourages everyone to prepare now by making a plan to stay safe, gathering important supplies and knowing how you’ll stay connected. Visit redcross.org or download the free Red Cross Emergency app for real-time weather alerts and safety information in English and Spanish. Find the app in smartphone app stores by searching for the “American Red Cross.”

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