Stay cool in the hot, humid weather

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Precautions to deal with our hot weather_-8837041330191709453

The heat is on in the U.P. and it’s going to get uncomfortable – and downright dangerous – before it levels out. Storm Team 3 chief meteorologist Tom Kippen says heat indexes may approach 100 degrees tomorrow and Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s important that you stay safe during those high temperatures. The possibility of heat stroke and heat exhaustion is a serious risk, especially in the afternoon and evening hours…and especially for children and the elderly.

Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet more than 600 people die from extreme heat every year.

Temperatures look to reach their peak on Friday afternoon in Upper Michigan as a heat wave moves through the Midwest and Great Lakes.

Take measures to stay cool, remain hydrated, and keep informed. Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can’t compensate for it and properly cool you off. The main things affecting your body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather are:

  • High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly. This keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
  • Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use all can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.

Those who are at highest risk include people 65 and older, children younger than two, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness.

Closely monitor people who depend on you for their care and ask these questions:

  • Are they drinking enough water?
  • Do they have access to air conditioning?
  • Do they need help keeping cool?

People at greatest risk for heat-related illness can take the following protective actions to prevent illness or death:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area. Air-conditioning is the number one way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during an extreme heat event.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.

Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather:

  • Limit your outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
  • Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.
  • Pace your activity. Start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

If you play a sport that practices during hot weather, protect yourself and look out for your teammates:

  • Schedule workouts and practices earlier or later in the day when the temperature is cooler.
  • Monitor a teammate’s condition, and have someone do the same for you.
  • Seek medical care right away if you or a teammate has symptoms of heat-related illness.
  • Learn more about how to protect young athletes from heat-related illness by taking this CDC course.

Everyone should take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and death during hot weather:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can.
  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
    • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
    • Pace yourself.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.
Locations south of the U.P. will see 100+ heat indexes on Thursday and Friday.

Look for the warning signs of heat cramps. Those could be muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms and legs. If you have those signs, go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.

Signs of heat exhaustion would be heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or fainting. If those signs are present you should go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.

The signs of heat stroke are generally extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness. This is extremely dangerous and you should call 911 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.

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