Heat can affect
anyone. However, it is more likely to affect young children,
elderly people, and people with health problems. For
instance, people with a medical condition that causes
poor blood circulation, and those who take medications
to get rid of water from the body (diuretics) or for
certain skin conditions, may be more susceptible to
heat. Consult with a physician if you have any questions
about how your medication may affect your ability to
Consideration should also be given to your pet and animals.
Ensure they have a cool place out of the direct sunlight
to rest. Do not encourage excessive play or work activities
for an animal during a heat wave. Make sure your animals
have access to plenty of fresh cool water to keep them
hydrated as well.
yourself with these terms to help identify a heat
Heat Wave - Prolonged
period of excessive heat and humidity. The
National Weather Service steps up its procedures
to alert the public during these periods of
excessive heat and humidity.
Heat Index - A number
in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot
it really feels when relative humidity is
added to the actual air temperature. Exposure
to full sunshine can increase the heat index
by 15 degrees F.
Heat Cramps - Heat
cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to
heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the
least severe, they are an early signal that
the body is having trouble with the heat.
Heat Exhaustion -
Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people
exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place
where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating.
Blood flow to the skin increases, causing
blood flow to decrease to the vital organs.
This results in a form of mild shock. If not
treated, the victim may suffer heat stroke.
Heat Stroke - Heat
stroke is life-threatening. The victim's temperature
control system, which produces sweating to
cool the body, stops working. The body temperature
can rise so high that brain damage and death
may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
Sun Stroke - Another
term for heat stroke.
a heat wave is predicted or happening:
down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous
activity, do it during the coolest part of the day,
which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m.
and 7:00 a.m.
indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is
not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the
sunshine. Try to go to a public building with air
conditioning each day for several hours. Remember,
electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help
sweat evaporate, which cools your body.
lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors
will reflect away some of the sun's energy.
plenty of water regularly and often. Your body needs
water to keep cool.
plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty.
is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies.
Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They
can make you feel good briefly, but make the heat's
effects on your body worse. This is especially true
about beer, which dehydrates the body.
small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are
high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.