July 18, 2012 2:32 am
- Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. During conditions of extreme heat and high humidity, spend time in locations with air-conditioning such as shopping malls, movie theaters, public libraries, or public health sponsored heat-relief shelters in your area.
- Stay hydrated. The minimum daily water intake (on an average day) is 1/2 your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should have at least 75 ounces of water per day. When temperatures rise, drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages and increase your water and total fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Rapid weight loss may be a sign of dehydration. Don't drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar — these actually can cause you to lose more body fluid.
- Pay special attention. Pregnant women, children, the elderly (65 years and older) and people with acute or chronic health conditions are more prone to heat stress. Make frequent checks on the status of friends, relatives and neighbors in these categories. If necessary, move them to an air-conditioned environment during the hottest part of the day.
- Do not leave anyone—children, disabled individuals, pets—in cars for even brief periods. Temperatures can rise to life-threatening levels in a matter of minutes.
- Use fans to increase ventilation. If the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit, instead of having a fan blow hot air in from a window, have the fan blow the hot air to the outside. At extreme high temperatures, a fan loses its ability to effectively reduce heat-related illness.
- Reduce body temperature. Cool showers, baths, and sponge baths can be used to reduce body temperatures. In addition, wet clothing has a cooling effect.
Published with permission from RISMedia.