07/19/11 July and August are typically the hottest months of the year in Northern Indiana, so taking adequate precautionary measures is necessary for both public, and personal health of the community. Clyde Avery, Director of the Marshall County Emergency Management Agency would like to remind everyone to be prepared for the higher temperatures we will be experiencing this week.
Heat is often overlooked at as a major threat because it doesn’t cause some type of visual destruction like other disasters. Yet, heat can affect anyone and everyone. The most susceptible to heat-related illnesses are young children and elderly people, as well as those with medical complications.
Be prepared for heat emergencies by knowing what to do if high temperatures are expected. For example:
ü Slow down. Avoid strenuous activities. If you must do strenuous activity, try doing it during the coolest parts of the day (morning / evening).
ü Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor away from the sunshine. Fans do not cool the air, but do help sweat evaporate, cooling the body’s core temperature.
ü Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. The brighter the color, the more it will reflect the sun’s rays.
ü ALWAYS wear sunblock, as well as UV protection (sunglasses, hats).
ü Drink plenty of water. Your body needs water to keep cool. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat-related emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol and caffeine.
ü Eat small meals, and often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
ü Avoid using salt or salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
ü Make sure any pets are properly attended to as well (water, shade, etc).
Learn the signals of heat emergencies. For Example:
ü Heat Exhaustion: Cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache, nausea or vomiting; dizziness and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.
ü Heat Stroke: Hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high – as high as 105°F. If the person was sweating from heavy work or exercise, skin may be wet, otherwise it will feel dry.
Know how to treat heat emergencies. For example:
ü Get the victim to a shady area.
ü Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods available.
ü Make the victim as comfortable as possible.
ü Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102°F.
ü If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
ü Do no give the victim alcohol to drink.
ü Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
By being prepared for the summer heat we can prevent serious injuries.
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