Staying Safe In Georgia’s Heat Wave

As our grandmothers used to say, it is “hotter than a firecracker” right now all across Georgia.  While the heat and humidity make it difficult to enjoy outdoor summer activities and run up our power bills, the danger of heat stroke or heat related illnesses is the great cause for worry.  The young and the elderly are especially vulnerable to the heat.  In addition, your pets are also at risk for heat stroke, so don’t forget about your furry friends!  Authorities believe that an eighteen year old who fell while hiking Mount Yonah near Helen yesterday slipped and fell due to heat exhaustion, so we want to make sure all of our patrons know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and how to stay safe in this blistering weather.

For great information on staying safe in the heat, please check out our favorite resources at http://del.icio.us/creekview_hs_library/heat .

Below is a chart of heat related illnesses, their symptoms and treatment from the National Weather Service at Peachtree City:

Heat  
Disorder
Symptoms First Aid
Sunburn Redness and pain. In severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters, fever, headaches. Ointment for mild cases if blisters appear.  If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by a physician.
Heat  
Cramps
Painful spasms usually in muscles of legs and abdomen possible. Heavy sweating. Firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use.
Heat  
Exhaustion
Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Pulse thready. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting. Get victim out of sun. Lay down and loosen clothing. Apply cool wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room.  Sips of water.  If nausea occurs, discontinue use. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
Heat  
Stroke  
(or sunstroke)
High body temperature (106°F, or higher).  Hot dry skin.  Rapid and strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency.  Summon medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately.  Delay can be fatal.  Move the victim to a cooler environment.  Reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging.  Use extreme caution.  Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners.  If temperature rises again, repeat process.  Do not give fluids.

 

Here are some tips from the National Weather Service in Peachtree City for staying safe in this heat:

  • Slow down.  Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day.  Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.  
  • Dress for summer.  Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.  
  • Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.  
  • Drink plenty of water or other nonalcoholic fluids.  Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets, or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.  
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages.  
  • Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.  Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.  
  • Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.  
  • Don’t get too much sun.  Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult. 

Stay safe and have fun this summer!

 

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