Extreme heat is a period of high heat and humidity above 90 degrees for at least two to three days. According to www.ready.gov, your body has to work extra hard to maintain an average temperature during extreme heat. Extreme heat is the number one cause of death annually of all weather-related hazards. Stafford just entered a seven-day period where temps are supposed to be more than 90 degrees. Learn to protect against the effects of extreme heat by drinking plenty of fluids, seeking shelter, wearing light clothing and avoiding strenuous outdoor activities. Most importantly, never leave a child or pet in a hot car as temperatures accelerate rapidly, even if the windows are open.
How to Prepare
Check out your residence and make sure doors and windows are properly weather-stripped. Cover your windows with curtains or close the shades. Adding insulation helps keep the cool in and the heat out. Use a powered attic ventilator and install window air conditioners. Fans are not enough to rely upon to dispel extreme heat. If you need assistance with procuring an air conditioner, contact the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/low-income-home-energy-assistance-program-liheap.
During the Heat
NEVER leave a child, adult or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day. If you take your child to daycare, or a babysitter, put something you need in the back seat to force yourself to remember your child is in the backseat. Bring outdoor pets into cooler inside areas and provide plenty of water.
Find places with air conditioning to stay cool: malls, libraries and community centers. In your home, use your stove or oven less to keep your home cool.
Avoid working outdoors during the midday heat if possible. If you have to, wear lightweight clothing, drink plenty of fluids and take multiple breaks to cool down.
Learn to recognize the signs below of heat-related illnesses and ways to respond.
- Heat Cramps
- Signs – Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs.
- Actions – Move to a cooler location, remove clothing and takes sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. If you are elderly, contact your healthcare provider first.
- Heat Exhaustion
- Signs – Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea, vomiting.
- Actions – Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing and take a cool bath. Sip cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Call your healthcare provider if symptoms last more than an hour.
- Heat Stroke
- Signs – Extremely high temps of 103 or above; red, hot and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; and dizziness or confusion.
- Actions – Call 9-1-1 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until health arrives.
For more information on how you can battle extreme heat, please visit https://www.ready.gov/heat.