Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Health Authorities Advise Taking Precautions In Extreme Heat

  With temperatures and humidity levels soaring dangerously high health officials are advising those who venture forth into the outdoors to take precautions to ensure they do not suffer heat related illnesses.

  Emergency rooms throughout the region are reporting a high number of individuals seeking attention for such ailments as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the extremely dangerous, heat stroke. They indicate that heat cramps and heat exhaustion are precursors to the life-threatening heat stroke, a condition that develops when one becomes dehydrated and the core body temperature reaches 103 degrees or higher. Symptoms of heat stroke include:  red, hot, dry skin, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. Anyone who exhibits these symptoms must have immediate medical attention.

  Officials advise those who must work outdoors to schedule all strenuous activities in the early morning hours, before temperatures rise too high. Also, they remind you to drink plenty of water, both before, during and after such activity. Frequent breaks are also a must when working in the heat.

  The following is a list of precautions to take during extreme heat:

*Drink additional fluids, but avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
* When temperatures are extreme stay indoors, ideally in an air-conditioned place.
* Take a cool shower or bath and reduce or eliminate strenuous activities during the hottest portion of the day.
* Protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

*Use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.
* Never leave pets or people in a parked vehicle.
* Some people are at greater risk of heat-related illnesses than others. People aged 65 or older are particularly susceptible. The risk for heat-related illness and death may increase among people using psychotropic drugs as well as medications for Parkinson's disease, tranquilizers and diuretics.