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Take Precautions During Extreme Heat

PSA from the North Central Public Health District
Published on 7/14/2014
Author: Teri Thalhofer RN, BSN, Director North Central Pub
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North Central Public Health District Advises People to Take Precautions during Extreme Heat
Residents are advised to stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed.

With the forecast for the week predicted to be 90 degrees and above for many regions of the state, North Central Public Health District is reminding people to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

"Heat-related illnesses can come on quickly," said Vern Harpole, NCPHD’s Deputy Health Officer "and expecting thirst, sweating and feeling hot to show up before more serious symptoms of confusion and light headedness doesn’t always happen! There are simple precautions to take to keep yourself and your family safe during extended periods of heat. This is especially important for children and seniors who are more at risk for heat-related illnesses. When possible, stay in air-conditioned areas, drink lots of fluids…enough that you are urinating as least every 4 hours. Water is best! Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary or salty drinks… this especially means the so called sport drinks…they are not for hydration of anyone except for folks involved in intense athletics or work, and even then only one cup of sport drink for every three of water. Wear light, loose fitting clothing and limit outdoor activities to the cool morning and late evening.”

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and claiming more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined. The most vulnerable individuals are those who work or exercise outdoors, adults over 65, infants and children under 4, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition.
Take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Stay cool
  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
  • Contact North Central Public Health District to inquire about an air-conditioned shelter in your area. Current known sites are Wasco County Library and Mid-Columbia Senior Center, during their normal business hours.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated
  • Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends, and neighbors are drinking enough water.

Stay informed
  • Check your local news for extreme heat warnings and safety tips.
  • Keep your friends, family, and neighbors aware of weather and heat safety information.

Helpful links
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/
www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/

(For more information, please contact North Central Public Health District at (541) 506-2600 or visit us on the web at www.ncphd.org)

Click here to download the original PSA from the North Central Public Health District.


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