Doing too much on a hot day, spending too much time in
the sun or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat-related
illnesses. Know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the
sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
- Contact your local emergency management office or
American Red Cross chapter for information on extreme heat.
- Install window air conditioners snugly.
- Close any floor heat registers nearby.
- Insulate spaces around air conditioners for a tighter
- Use a circulating or box fan to spread the cool air.
Keep heat outside and cool air inside.
- Install temporary reflectors, such as aluminum foil
covered cardboard, to reflect any heat back outside. Keep the cool air
inside by weather-stripping doors and windowsills.
- Consider keeping storm windows up all year. Storm
windows can keep the heat of a house in the summer the same way they
keep the cold out in the winter.
- Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
- Protect windows. Hang shades, draperies, awnings,
or louvers on windows that receive morning or afternoon sun. Outdoor
awnings or louvers can reduce the heat entering the house by as much
as 80 percent. Conserve electricity.
- During periods of extreme heat, people tend to use
a lot more power for air conditioning which can lead to a power shortage
or outage.Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not
available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Remember that
electric fans do not cool, they just blow hot air around.
- Eat well-balanced, light meals.
- Drink plenty of water regularly. Persons who have
epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restrictive
diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor
before increasing liquid intake.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages. Although beer
and alcohol beverages appear to satisfy thirst, they actually cause
further body dehydration.
- Dress in loose-fitting clothes that cover as much
skin as possible. Lightweight, light-colored clothing that reflects
heat and sunlight and helps maintain normal body temperature.
- Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
- Allow your body to get acclimated to hot temperatures
for the first 2 or 3 days of a heat wave.
- Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin's
ability to cool itself. Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun
protection factor) rating.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes. A cool shower immediately
after coming in from hot temperatures can result in hypothermia, particularly
for elderly and very young people.
- Slow down. Reduce, eliminate, or reschedule strenuous
activities. High-risk individuals should stay in cool places. Get plenty
of rest to allow your natural "cooling system" to work.
- Take salt tablets only if specified by your physician.
Persons on salt-restrictive diets should check with a physician before
increasing salt intake.
- Vacuum air conditioner filters weekly during periods
of high use.
- Learn the symptoms of heat disorders
and know how to give first aid.
During a Drought
- Lower water use. Watering the lawn and washing the car waste water.
Whenever possible, re-use water.
- Place a brick or other large, solid object in the flush tank of the
toilet to reduce the water used to flush.
- Farmers should contact the county Farm Service Agency for disaster
- Symptoms: Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever,
- First Aid: Take a shower, using soap, to remove oils that may block
pores preventing the body from cooling naturally. If blisters occur,
apply dry, sterile dressings and get medical attention.
- Heat Cramps
- Symptoms: Painful spasms usually in leg and abdominal muscles. Heavy
- First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to
relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue.
- Heat Exhaustion
- Symptoms: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Weak
pulse. Normal temperature possible. Fainting, vomiting.
- First Aid: Get victim to lie down in a cool place. Loosen clothing.
Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air-conditioned place.
Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue. If vomiting occurs,
seek immediate medical attention.
- Heat Stroke (Sun Stroke)
- Symptoms: High body temperature (106+). Hot, dry skin. Rapid, strong
pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Victim will likely not sweat.
- First Aid: Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or
emergency medical services or get the victim to a hospital immediately.
Delay can be fatal. Move victim to a cooler environment. Try a cool
bath or sponging to reduce body temperature. Use extreme caution. Remove
clothing. Use fans and/or air conditioners. DO
NOT GIVE FLUIDS.
How The Public Can Help
After A Disaster