How to stay safe: Excessive heat warning in effect for Thursday
Dangerously hot weather is the forecast for Thursday as air temperatures are expected to get well into the 90s, and the heat index could go over 100 degrees. Prolonged exposure to the heat could cause heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke.
Laurie Fox is the Public Information Officer for Green County Public Health. She says all of us should do three things to stay safe from the heat.
Laurie Fox: Number one, stay cool. Staying cool means staying in air-conditioned buildings if you have them. The local libraries are great places to escape the heat. Don't rely on just a fan because all that's going to do is swap around your warm air that's circulating through your house if you don't have AC. So don't just rely on that. If you can find another way to make it cooler, do that.
Limit your outdoor activity. The middle part of the day is the hottest. Wearing loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, taking a cool shower or a cool bath to lower the body temperature, adjust your blinds and your shades and your curtains, awnings, anything to keep the sun out of your house.
Check on your friends and family, neighbors who are most at risk. Check on them a couple of times a day.
Number two, stay hydrated. Drink more than usual. Don't wait until you're thirsty. That is your body's first sign that you're starting to get dehydrated. If you are feeling thirsty, then you're already dehydrated. You should drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside. Avoid any alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar, and make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water, too.
And number three, stay informed. Check your local news for extreme heat warnings, and other safety tips. You can visit your local public health agency website. You can go to our website for more information and tips for preventing heat sickness. And make sure you keep your family, friends and neighbors aware of any weather alerts or heed safety information that might come out.
Mike Frazier: You mentioned not drinking alcoholic or sugary beverages to stay hydrated. Why?
Fox: It's only going to make you more thirsty and it's not going to help your body absorb that water and use it for what it's intended for, which is hydrating your body. So it's always best to stay away from those. Actually, alcohol can dehydrate you even more. So, yeah, definitely stay away from that stuff. During the heat, water is always your best option.
Frazier: What if somebody is overheating and they suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke? What does that mean and what are the differences?
Fox: I'll give you heat exhaustion first. The symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness. Your skin may be cold, pale and clammy. You have a very weak pulse. You could faint, you could vomit. If they're experiencing some of these symptoms, move to a cooler location, lay down, loosen up your clothing a little bit. If you've got access to cool, wet cloths, cover your body as much as possible. Sip water. Our first instinct is to just gulp. That's not going to help. Sip water. Let your body have time to absorb that. If you’ve vomited and it continues, you definitely want to seek medical attention immediately.
Heatstroke is definitely considered a medical emergency. This is something you want to watch very, very carefully. You want to call 911 immediately if you experience the symptoms. And the symptoms include high body temperatures above 103 degrees Fahrenheit; hot, red, dry or even moist skin; rapid, strong pulse; and possible unconsciousness. If any of those symptoms are seen in an individual, 911 needs to be called immediately. You want to move the person to a cooler environment, reduce that person's body temperature with cool cloths or an ice bath if you can. Do not give fluid at that point. Once the emergency personnel get there, they will take over. Do not give them fluid. The emergency personnel will take care of that individual from that point on.
Frazier: What about hot cars — leaving kids or pets in a hot car?
Young children and pets just really should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstance, heat or otherwise. But it's especially true during these hotter days that we can sometimes experience during the summer months when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in literally minutes. And it's so dangerous. And we hear too often stories every year of children that have passed away due to being left in a vehicle or even pets that have succumbed to the heat.
It's very, very important to make sure that we have our loved ones taken care of during these difficult hot days.