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Safety Tips

Heat Safety

(posted on August 1, 2017)

Practice Heat Safety Image

In Dayton, OH July and August are the hottest months of the year.  Understanding heat-related warnings and what to look out for can help you stay safe in hot conditions.

Heat-Related Warnings

The National Weather Service issues some or all of the following heat-related warnings as conditions warrant.  NWS local offices often collaborate with local partners to determine when an alert should be issued for a local area.

Excessive Heat Warning / Heat Advisory — Take Action!  An Excessive Heat Warning is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions.  The general rule of thumb for this Warning is when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 100° or higher for at least 2 days and night time air temperatures will not drop below 75°.  If you don't take precautions immediately when conditions are extreme, you may become seriously ill or even die.

Excessive Heat Watches — Be Prepared!  Heat watches are issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours.  A Watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain.  Additionally, an excessive heat outlook is issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days.  An Outlook provides information to those who need considerable lead-time to prepare for the event.

Heat Index Chart

Know the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness

During extremely hot and humid weather, your body's ability to cool itself is challenged.  When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness.  It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides the following list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness and recommended first aid steps.

Heat Stroke Symptom Chart

Heat stroke – Symptoms include high body temperature (103°F or higher), hot, red, dry, or damp skin, fast, strong pulse, headache, feeling dizzy, nausea, feeling confused and losing consciousness (passing out).  If heat stroke occurs immediately call 911 (heat stroke is a medical emergency), move the person to a cooler place, help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath.  Remember that in this condition it is important to not give the person anything to drink.

Heat exhaustion – Symptoms include heavy sweating, cold, pale, and clammy skin, fast, weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, feeling tired or weak, feeling dizzy, headache and fainting (passing out).  If heat exhaustion occurs move to a cool place, loosen clothes, put a cool, wet cloth on your body or take a cool bath and sip water.  Get medical help right away if you begin throwing up, your symptoms get worse or your symptoms last longer than 1 hour.

Heat cramps – Symptoms include heavy sweating during intense exercise and muscle pain or spasms.  If heat cramps occur stop physical activity and move to a cool place, drink water or a sports drink and wait for cramps to go away before you do any more physical activity.  Get medical help right away if cramps last longer than 1 hour, you’re on a low-sodium diet or you have heart problems.

Sunburn – Symptoms include painful, red, and warm skin and blisters on the skin.  It sunburn occurs stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals, put cool cloths on sunburned areas or take a cool bath, put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas and do not break blisters which can make the sunburn worse.

Heat rash – Symptoms include red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin, or in elbow creases).  If heat rash occurs stay in a cool dry place, keep the rash dry and use powder (like baby powder) to soothe the rash.

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

National Weather Service - http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml

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