Safety in Hot Weather
Safety in the Heat
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The Placer County Department of Health and Human Services reminds residents and visitors that you need to take extra precautions during periods of very hot weather. The best defense against heat-related illnesses is prevention. Heat exhaustion, if left untreated, can lead to heat stroke, which can result in death. The elderly, the very young, those with mental illnesses and chronic diseases are most susceptible the heat. Residents and visitors are asked to use common sense and the following suggestions and stay safe in hot weather. Remember to check on the elderly and ill as they may be unable to care for themselves in extreme heat.
Drink plenty of fluids:
- During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16–32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.
Replace Salt and Minerals:
- Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen:
- Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causes pain and damages the skin. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher
Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully:
- If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover.
- If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
Stay Cool Indoors:
- Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
Use a Buddy System:
- When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
Monitor Those at High Risk:
- Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Frequently check on those at high risk: Infants and children up to four years of age
People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.
People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat.
People who overexert during work or exercise may become dehydrated and susceptible to heat sickness.
People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.
Adjust to the Environment:
- Be aware that any sudden change in temperature, such as an early summer heat wave, will be stressful to your body. You will have a greater tolerance for heat if you limit your physical activity until you become accustomed to the heat. If you travel to a hotter climate, allow several days to become acclimated before attempting any vigorous exercise, and work up to it gradually.
Use Common Sense:
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals— they add heat to your body.
- Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body.
- Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
- Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.
- Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
- Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area.