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Indiana State Department of Health

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HEALTH TIPS FOR HOT WEATHER

From the Indiana State Department of Health and the CDC

Experts say these are the best ways to endure humidity and avoid the danger of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • observe reasonable precautions,
  • recognize the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion, and
  • apply appropriate treatment, should the symptoms occur.

OBSERVE THESE PRECAUTIONS

Pace yourself: for work or recreation in the sun, be sure to take frequent breaks to take on fluids and cool off out of the heat

Take it easy: put off strenuous activities that can wait until weather cools

Stay cool: use air-conditioning, if it's available; if it's not available, take cool baths, showers, or sponge baths and temporarily inhabit dry basement spaces, which can be 10-15 degrees cooler

Eat lighter meals: avoid use of your stove by eating more salads, fresh vegetables and fruit

Dress appropriately: wear light-colored, lightweight cotton clothing, which readily releases perspiration and reflects heat. Cotton absorbs perspiration better and thus cools better than synthetics

Drink fluids: drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages (water is best), especially when you're outdoors, to keep the body's cooling system operating efficiently; avoid alcohol, which can induce dehydration

Stay in the shade: if possible, perform work or strenuous recreational activities outdoors in the morning or early evening, when the sun's heat is less intense; avoid sun burn and ultraviolet light poisoning

Carry water: when you're away from home, keep water in non-breakable bottles with you to easily replenish fluids lost to perspiration

Look after the very young and the aged: babies and older adults are more susceptible to heat induced illness; check on them regularly, call your local health department for instructions if you are unsure

RECOGNIZE THE SYMPTOMS

Heat Exhaustion: heavy sweating, paleness, tiredness, headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting

Heat Stroke: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees), red, hot and dry skin (no sweating), rapid strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, unconsciousness

PROVIDE TREATMENT

Heat Stroke: The symptoms above could indicate a life-threatening emergency.

First, call for immediate medical assistance, then:

  • get the victim to a shady area
  • cool the victim rapidly, using whatever methods are available, including applying ice packs on neck, and face, and armpits: immersing in cool water, or using a garden hose
  • monitor the body temperature; continue cooling efforts
  • if emergency medical personnel are delayed, call a hospital emergency room for instructions
  • do not give the victim  water to drink; do not give the victim any alcohol
  • get medical assistance as soon as possible

Heat Exhaustion: Although this is not as serious as heat stroke, seek medical help for severe cases

  • move the victim to a cooler environment
  • loosen clothing