Hot weather safety


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Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. Historically, from 1979-2003, excessive heat exposure caused 8,015 deaths in the United States. During this period, more people in this country died from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined. In 2001, 300 deaths were caused by excessive heat exposure.
People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn't enough. In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.
Several factors affect the body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions related to risk include age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use.
Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. However, even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.
Summertime activity, whether on the playing field or the construction site, must be balanced with measures that aid the body's cooling mechanisms and prevent heat-related illness. This pamphlet tells how you can prevent, recognize, and cope with heat-related health problems.

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Hot weather safety

  1. 1. EducationHealth TopicsHot weather safety
  2. 2. 1OverviewHeat-related deaths and illness are preventable yetannually many people succumb to extreme heat.Historically, from 1979-2003, excessive heatexposure caused 8,015 deaths in the United States.During this period, more people in this countrydied from extreme heat than from hurricanes,lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakescombined. In 2001, 300 deaths were caused byexcessive heat exposure.
  3. 3. 2OverviewPeople suffer heat-related illness when theirbodies are unable to compensate and properlycool themselves. The body normally cools itself bysweating. But under some conditions, sweatingjust isnt enough. In such cases, a persons bodytemperature rises rapidly. Very high bodytemperatures may damage the brain or other vitalorgans.
  4. 4. 3OverviewSeveral factors affect the bodys ability to coolitself during extremely hot weather. When thehumidity is high, sweat will not evaporate asquickly, preventing the body from releasing heatquickly. Other conditions related to risk includeage, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease,mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, andprescription drug and alcohol use.
  5. 5. 4OverviewBecause heat-related deaths are preventable,people need to be aware of who is at greatest riskand what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. The elderly, the veryyoung, and people with mental illness and chronicdiseases are at highest risk. However, even youngand healthy individuals can succumb to heat if theyparticipate in strenuous physical activities duringhot weather. Air-conditioning is the number oneprotective factor against heat-related illness anddeath
  6. 6. 5OverviewSummertime activity, whether on the playing fieldor the construction site, must be balanced withmeasures that aid the bodys cooling mechanismsand prevent heat-related illness. This pamphlettells how you can prevent, recognize, and copewith heat-related health problems.
  7. 7. 6What is extreme heat?Conditions of extreme heat are defined assummertime temperatures that are substantiallyhotter and/or more humid than average forlocation at that time of year. Humid or muggyconditions, which add to the discomfort of hightemperatures, occur when a "dome" of highatmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air nearthe ground. Extremely dry and hot conditions canprovoke dust storms and low visibility. Droughtsoccur when a long period passes withoutsubstantial rainfall. A heat wave combined with
  8. 8. 7What is extreme heat?During Hot WeatherTo protect your health whentemperatures are extremely high, remember tokeep cool and use common sense. The followingtips are important:
  9. 9. 8What is extreme heat?Drink Plenty of FluidsDuring hot weather you willneed to increase your fluid intake, regardless ofyour activity level. Dont wait until youre thirsty todrink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment,drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of coolfluids each hour.
  10. 10. 9What is extreme heat?Warning: If your doctor generally limits theamount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills,ask how much you should drink while the weatheris hot.Dont drink liquids that contain alcohol, or largeamounts of sugar—these actually cause you tolose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks,because they can cause stomach cramps.
  11. 11. 10Staying HealthyReplace Salt and MineralsHeavy sweating removessalt and minerals from the body. These arenecessary for your body and must be replaced. Ifyou must exercise, drink two to four glasses ofcool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sportsbeverage can replace the salt and minerals youlose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-saltdiet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sportsbeverage or taking salt tablets.
  12. 12. 11Staying HealthyWear Appropriate Clothing and SunscreenWear aslittle clothing as possible when you are at home.Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fittingclothing. Sunburn affects your bodys ability to coolitself and causes a loss of body fluids. It also causespain and damages the skin. If you must gooutdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearinga wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) alongwith sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen ofSPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say"bro
  13. 13. 12Staying HealthySchedule Outdoor Activities CarefullyIf you mustbe outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity tomorning and evening hours. Try to rest often inshady areas so that your bodys thermostat willhave a chance to recover.
  14. 14. 13Staying HealthyPace YourselfIf you are not accustomed to workingor exercising in a hot environment, start slowly andpick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heatmakes your heart pound and leaves you gaspingfor breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area orat least into the shade, and rest, especially if youbecome lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
  15. 15. 14Staying HealthyStay Cool IndoorsStay indoors and, if at allpossible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If yourhome does not have air conditioning, go to theshopping mall or public library—even a few hoursspent in air conditioning can help your body staycooler when you go back into the heat. Call yourlocal health department to see if there are anyheat-relief shelters in your area. Electric fans mayprovide comfort, but when the temperature is inthe high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-relatedillness.
  16. 16. 15Staying HealthyUse a Buddy SystemWhen working in the heat,monitor the condition of your co-workers and havesomeone do the same for you. Heat-inducedillness can cause a person to become confused orlose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age orolder, have a friend or relative call to check on youtwice a day during a heat wave. If you knowsomeone in this age group, check on them at leasttwice a day.
  17. 17. 16Staying HealthyMonitor Those at High RiskAlthough anyone at anytime can suffer from heat-related illness, somepeople are at greater risk than others.Infants and young children are sensitive to theeffects of high temperatures and rely on others toregulate their environments and provide adequateliquids.
  18. 18. 17Staying HealthyPeople 65 years of age or older may notcompensate for heat stress efficiently and are lesslikely to sense and respond to change intemperature.People who are overweight may be prone to heatsickness because of their tendency to retain morebody heat.
  19. 19. 18Staying HealthyPeople who overexert during work or exercise maybecome dehydrated and susceptible to heatsickness.People who are physically ill, especially with heartdisease or high blood pressure, or who take certainmedications, such as for depression, insomnia, orpoor circulation, may be affected by extreme heat.
  20. 20. 19Staying HealthyVisit adults at risk at least twice a day and closelywatch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Infants and young children, of course, needmuch more frequent watching.
  21. 21. 20Staying HealthyAdjust to the EnvironmentBe aware that anysudden change in temperature, such as an earlysummer heat wave, will be stressful to your body.You will have a greater tolerance for heat if youlimit your physical activity until you becomeaccustomed to the heat. If you travel to a hotterclimate, allow several days to become acclimatedbefore attempting any vigorous exercise, and workup to it gradually.
  22. 22. 21Staying HealthyDo Not Leave Children in CarsEven in cooltemperatures, cars can heat up to dangeroustemperatures very quickly. Even with the windowscracked open, interior temperatures can risealmost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10minutes. Anyone left inside is at risk for seriousheat-related illnesses or even death. Children whoare left unattended in parked cars are at greatestrisk for heat stroke, and possibly death. Whentraveling with children, remember to do thefollowing:
  23. 23. 22Staying HealthyNever leave infants, children or pets in a parkedcar, even if the windows are cracked open.To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep astuffed animal in the car seat. When the child isbuckled in, place the stuffed animal in the frontwith the driver.
  24. 24. 23Staying HealthyWhen leaving your car, check to be sure everyoneis out of the car. Do not overlook any children whohave fallen asleep in the car.Use Common SenseRemember to keep cool anduse common sense:Avoid hot foods and heavy meals—they add heatto your body.
  25. 25. 24Staying HealthyDrink plenty of fluids and replace salts andminerals in your body. Do not take salt tabletsunless under medical supervision.Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothingand shade their heads and faces with hats or anumbrella.Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and inplaces of potential severe exposure such asbeaches.
  26. 26. 25Staying HealthyDo not leave infants, children, or pets in a parkedcar.Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, andleave the water in a shady area.
  27. 27. 26Health EmergenciesEven short periods of high temperatures can causeserious health problems. During hot weatherhealth emergencies, keep informed by listening tolocal weather and news channels or contact localhealth departments for health and safety updates.Doing too much on a hot day, spending too muchtime in the sun or staying too long in anoverheated place can cause heat-related illnesses.Know the symptoms of heat disorders andoverexposure to the sun, and be ready to give firstaid treatment.
  28. 28. 27Health EmergenciesHeat StrokeHeat stroke occurs when the body isunable to regulate its temperature. The bodystemperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanismfails, and the body is unable to cool down. Bodytemperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death orpermanent disability if emergency treatment is notprovided.
  29. 29. 28Health EmergenciesRecognizing Heat StrokeWarning signs of heatstroke vary but may include the following:An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F,orally)Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)Rapid, strong pulse
  30. 30. 29Health EmergenciesThrobbing headacheDizzinessNauseaConfusionUnconsciousness
  31. 31. 30Health EmergenciesWhat to DoIf you see any of these signs, you maybe dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Havesomeone call for immediate medical assistancewhile you begin cooling the victim. Do thefollowing:Get the victim to a shady area.
  32. 32. 31Health EmergenciesCool the victim rapidly using whatever methodsyou can. For example, immerse the victim in a tubof cool water; place the person in a cool shower;spray the victim with cool water from a gardenhose; sponge the person with cool water; or if thehumidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wetsheet and fan him or her vigorously.
  33. 33. 32Health EmergenciesMonitor body temperature, and continue coolingefforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.If emergency medical personnel are delayed, callthe hospital emergency room for furtherinstructions.Do not give the victim fluids to drink.
  34. 34. 33Health EmergenciesGet medical assistance as soon as possible.Sometimes a victims muscles will begin to twitchuncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If thishappens, keep the victim from injuring himself, butdo not place any object in the mouth and do notgive fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure theairway remains open by turning the victim on hisor her side.
  35. 35. 34Health EmergenciesHeat ExhaustionHeat exhaustion is a milder formof heat-related illness that can develop afterseveral days of exposure to high temperatures andinadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Itis the bodys response to an excessive loss of thewater and salt contained in sweat. Those mostprone to heat exhaustion are elderly people,people with high blood pressure, and peopleworking or exercising in a hot environment.
  36. 36. 35Health EmergenciesRecognizing Heat ExhaustionWarning signs of heatexhaustion include the following:Heavy sweatingPalenessMuscle crampsTiredness
  37. 37. 36Health EmergenciesWeaknessDizzinessHeadacheNausea or vomitingFainting
  38. 38. 37Health EmergenciesThe skin may be cool and moist. The victims pulserate will be fast and weak, and breathing will befast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, itmay progress to heat stroke. Seek medicalattention immediately if any of the followingoccurs:Symptoms are severeThe victim has heart problems or high bloodpressure
  39. 39. 38Health EmergenciesOtherwise, help the victim to cool off, and seekmedical attention if symptoms worsen or lastlonger than 1 hour.What to DoCooling measures that may be effectiveinclude the following:Cool, nonalcoholic beveragesRest
  40. 40. 39Health EmergenciesCool shower, bath, or sponge bathAn air-conditioned environmentLightweight clothing
  41. 41. 40Health EmergenciesHeat CrampsHeat cramps usually affect peoplewho sweat a lot during strenuous activity. Thissweating depletes the bodys salt and moisture.The low salt level in the muscles may be the causeof heat cramps. Heat cramps may also be asymptom of heat exhaustion.
  42. 42. 41Health EmergenciesRecognizing Heat CrampsHeat cramps are musclepains or spasms—usually in the abdomen, arms, orlegs—that may occur in association with strenuousactivity. If you have heart problems or are on alow-sodium diet, get medical attention for heatcramps.What to DoIf medical attention is not necessary,take these steps:
  43. 43. 42Health EmergenciesStop all activity, and sit quietly in a cool place.Drink clear juice or a sports beverage.Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hoursafter the cramps subside, because further exertionmay lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  44. 44. 43Health EmergenciesSeek medical attention for heat cramps if they donot subside in 1 hour.SunburnSunburn should be avoided because itdamages the skin. Although the discomfort isusually minor and healing often occurs in about aweek, a more severe sunburn may require medicalattention.
  45. 45. 44Health EmergenciesRecognizing SunburnSymptoms of sunburn arewell known: the skin becomes red, painful, andabnormally warm after sun exposure.What to DoConsult a doctor if the sunburn affectsan infant younger than 1 year of age or if thesesymptoms are present:FeverFluid-filled blisters
  46. 46. 45Health EmergenciesSevere painAlso, remember these tips when treating sunburn:Avoid repeated sun exposure.Apply cold compresses or immerse the sunburnedarea in cool water.
  47. 47. 46Health EmergenciesApply moisturizing lotion to affected areas. Do notuse salve, butter, or ointment.Do not break blisters.Heat RashHeat rash is a skin irritation caused byexcessive sweating during hot, humid weather. Itcan occur at any age but is most common in youngchildren.
  48. 48. 47Health EmergenciesRecognizing Heat RashHeat rash looks like a redcluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likelyto occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin,under the breasts, and in elbow creases.What to DoThe best treatment for heat rash is toprovide a cooler, less humid environment. Keepthe affected area dry. Dusting powder may be usedto increase comfort.
  49. 49. 48Health EmergenciesTreating heat rash is simple and usually does notrequire medical assistance. Other heat-relatedproblems can be much more severe.
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