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Stay Safe with the Heat

            August is just around the corner and, let's face it, our latest heat wave left most of us longing for September.  But, that's another month away.

            This is the same heat we lived through back in the 1950's and 1960's.  Most of us worked, played and endured five or six heat waves each summer without the luxury of air-conditioning.  All right, today many declare it a necessity.

            According to the American Red Cross, extreme heat is the most dangerous type of severe-weather event in the U.S.  But, like many severe weather events we can take action to prepare for extreme heat events and related power outages.  

            The Red Cross suggests that you Gather food, water, and medicine in advance because stores and pharmacies might be closed. Organize your supplies into a Go-Kit and a Stay-at-Home Kit.

            A Go-Kit should have three days of supplies that you can easily carry with you.  A Stay-at-Home Kit should have two weeks of supplies if you need to stay at home.  Also, have a 1-month supply of medication in a child-proof container. In addition, keep your personal, financial, and medical records safe.

            Once the heatwave is here, Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages; Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; If at all possible, try to get outdoor work completed in the morning to avoid the warmest part of the day; Keep windows and interior doors open when running a fan at home; Keep cool by seeking an air-conditioned building, such as a mall, library, or senior center if available. If not, seek rest in the shade; don't use an electric fan when the indoor air temperature is over 95°F and use your stove and oven less.

            Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat strokes can be brought on during extreme heat.

            Heat cramps are muscle spasms, often in the abdomen, arms or calves, caused by a large loss of salt and water in the body.  If you experiencing heavy sweating and have muscle pain or spasms, stop physical activity and move to a cool place.  Then, have drink water or a sports drink and wait for the cramps to go away before resuming physical activity.

            If the cramps last longer than 1 hour, seek medical help.

            Heat exhaustion is a severe heat-related illness requiring emergency medical treatment.  Symptoms include: Heavy sweating, cold, pale and clammy skin; Fast, weak pulse; Nausea or vomiting; Muscle cramps; Tiredness or weakness; Dizziness; Headache; and brief fainting.  If you feel heat exhaustion coming on, get to a cool place; Loosen clothes; Put wet cloths on youself, use misting and fanning, or take a cool bath; and sip water. Get medical help right away if: Vomiting occurs; Symptoms get worse; Symptoms last longer than 1 hour; or confusion develops

            A Heat stroke is the most serious medical condition caused by extreme heat. It requires immediate emergency treatment. It can result in death without immediate medical attention.

            Tell-tale signs include high body temperature (104°F or higher); Hot, red, dry or damp skin; Fast, strong pulse; Headache; Dizziness; Nausea; Confusion; and losing consciousness (passing out).

            If you or someone you know is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 right away then: Get to a cooler place;  Help lower the temperature with a cool or cold bath, misting, fanning or applying cool cloths, if a bath is not available; and do not give the person anything to drink.

            Stay safe.







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