“As the temperatures rise outside, the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD)0 recommends that residents take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke,” said Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little, Liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. “Extreme temperatures can cause life-threatening conditions. In addition to the following hot weather tips and information on heat-related dangers, it is also important to take the time to check on elderly family members, friends, and neighbors.”
Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator, said the OCHD is offering the following tips that can help people avoid heat-related illness. He also said that tips to BEAT THE HEAT can be found on the OCHD website at www.ochd.org. “The best way to avoid heat stroke is to drink plenty of fluids, stay in cool places, and avoid over-exerting yourself,” he said. “If you do not have air-conditioning, go somewhere that does, such as the library, a supermarket, or the mall. Just a few minutes in an air-conditioned environment can help cool a person’s body.”
Some other tips that the Health Department recommends to avoid heat-related illness are:
• Stay indoors as much as possible. Remember, electric fans do not cool the air and if the temperature is above 90 degrees, the fans only circulate hot air.
• Keep shades down or draperies closed to keep out the sun.
• Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
• Stay out of direct sunlight.
• Take cool baths or showers.
• Place ice bags or wet towels on your body to cool your body’s temperature.
• Avoid strenuous activity.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing made of natural fibers.
• Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, vegetable juices and iced tea, even if you are not thirsty.
• Avoid alcoholic beverages or drinks with a high salt content.
• Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
• Use a sunscreen lotion with a high sun protection factor; SPF 15 or above.
• If you have symptoms including, headache, nausea, and fatigues after exposure to heat, you may have some measure of heat-related illness. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical care.
• NEVER LEAVE PEOPLE (ESPECIALLY SMALL CHILDREN) OR ANIMALS IN A CAR FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME IN HOT WEATHER.
Older adults and very young children are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses in addition to those that take certain medications and those who have heart, lung, or kidney disease. Two conditions that need to be monitored closely are heatstroke/ sunstroke, which is life-threatening and heat exhaustion. Overexposure to heat can result in loss of body water and salt, causing heat exhaustion. Symptoms include weakness, heavy sweating, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and a person may have cool, clammy, pale skin. Get the victim out of the heat if possible and give cool liquids, slowly, as long as the person is not nauseous. Sponge the person in cool water, using a shower, wet cloths or if outside, a garden hose. If vomiting occurs, seek medical attention immediately.
Heatstroke/sunstroke is a life-threatening condition where the body becomes dangerously overheated and is considered an extreme medical emergency. Symptoms of heatstroke include faintness, headaches, confusion, loss of consciousness, body temperature at or above 104 degrees (the temperature can rise to over 106 degrees in a matter of minutes), rapid pulse, red, hot, dry skin. CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY. While waiting for medical help try to lower person’s body temperature as quickly as possible by pouring cool water over the person.