An excessive heat warning indicates that the heat index is “High” for more than three hours per day.
Heat-related illness can affect anyone, but persons who are doing strenuous work outdoors are at high risk, as well as infants and young children, people aged 65 or older, those who are physically ill—especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure, and people with mental illness.
Heat-related illness occurs when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. Sweating can’t cool the body enough, and body temperature continues to rise. This can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke or more serious illness. Heat-related illness can damage the brain or other organs. If you have mild heat-related illness (heat exhaustion), you may experience heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, vomiting or fainting. It is important to drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages, rest, and head to a cool location.
If you in counter someone that has heat stroke, it is necessary to call for medical assistance, move the person to a shady area, and cool him or her off with water. It is important to monitor the person until medical assistance arrives.
The Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remind you that the best way to reduce risk of heat-related illness is to take preventative measures. These include: - Drink plenty of water, even if you aren’t thirsty, to avoid dehydration. Avoid alcoholic beverages and drinks including some sodas and juices with lots of sugar. - Decrease physical activity outside. Activities should occur in the morning or evening. Stay in the shade as much as possible. - Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- Take breaks in air-conditioning, if possible.
- If you are on medications, especially for mental illnesses, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if they increased risk for heat-related illness.