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heat wave 2
06/18/2024

Heat Wave Safety Tips

High summer temperatures aren’t just uncomfortable; they can also be a threat to your health. Here are some steps you can take to stay safe in a heat wave.

Stay Cool and Hydrated

Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to help you stay cool. Save outdoor activities for the coolest parts of the day or evening.

If you do need to be outdoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you remain in the shade as much as possible and take breaks when you can.

When indoors, cover windows when they’re in direct sunlight. Keep curtains, shades or blinds drawn during the hottest part of the day. Take cool showers or baths.

You can use fans indoors, according to the CDC, but only if the indoor temperature is less than 90 degrees. At temperatures higher than 90 degrees, a fan can increase body temperature.

Use air conditioning indoors if possible. If you do not have air conditioning, go to an air-conditioned place such as a library, senior center or friend’s house. You can also call 211 to find a cooling center near you. Spending a few hours in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.

Older adults should not stay home alone during a summer power outage or extreme heat event, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Reach out to family or friends for help.

Adequate hydration is important for everyone. The CDC recommends drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, on hot days. Carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day. Limit beverages high in sugars and sodium, caffeine and alcohol, if possible.

Pay Attention to Air Quality Alerts

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the air pollutant ozone more readily forms at ground level on warm, sunny days when the air is stagnant. High levels of air pollutants are especially dangerous for children, older adults and people with a heart or respiratory condition. Everyone is vulnerable to health effects from high doses or long-term exposure to air pollutants.

For your health, pay attention to the Air Quality Index (AQI). Air quality is reported on a color-coded scale that ranges from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern due to increased pollution:

  • Green (0-50): Good
  • Yellow (51-100): Moderate
  • Orange (101-150): Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
  • Red (151-200): Unhealthy
  • Purple (201-300): Very Unhealthy
  • Maroon (301 and higher): Hazardous

Officials issue an air quality alert for sensitive groups when the AQI exceeds 100. Levels higher than 300 are hazardous for everyone.

The National Weather Service suggests taking the following actions to guard your health when air quality alerts are in effect:

  • Stay informed about air quality conditions in your area. You can look up air quality by zip code or city and state at AirNow.gov.
  • Choose a less strenuous activity.
  • Shorten outdoor activity and take more breaks.
  • Reschedule activities.
  • Move your activity inside.

Know the Symptoms of Heat Illness

Following are symptoms of heat illness:

  • Muscle cramping
  • Unusually heavy sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Nausea

A mild heat illness such as heat cramps can be resolved by stopping physical activity, moving to a cooler place and drinking water. But heat stroke, a severe heat illness, is a medical emergency. Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke.

Use this chart from the CDC to determine when to seek medical attention for heat illness based on symptoms. Visit the CDC’s Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses page for more details.

Special Considerations for Those at High Risk

Pregnant people, individuals over age 65, infants and young children, people who are working or exercising outside in the heat and people with heart disease or asthma may need to take additional action on hot days. Scroll to the bottom of the CDC’s About Heat and Your Health page for links to details for people in these groups.

Sources:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Environmental Protection Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency
The StayWell Company, LLC

location icon

Location Finder

Here's your guide to finding any of the facilities in the Aultman family of health services, including maps and contacts. 

symptom checker icon

Need a Doctor?

Aultman Medical Group's network of more than 240 providers is committed to high-level patient care.

calendar icon

Schedule an Appointment

Click below to complete an online form. 

 

donation icon

Donate Today

You can help support and enhance services, and in turn, help patients and their families who benefit from care received at Aultman.

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