Beat the Heat: Tips for surviving hot weather

Heat stress prevention tips

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Can’t take the heat? Many people can’t and often times are hospitalized with a heat-related illness.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a “heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness.” It can cause death or permanent disability.

When the temperature is high, try your best to stay inside, but if you must go outside, make sure you dress properly, wear a hat, lightweight clothes, sunscreen and make sure you take plenty of water with you.

Also, take breaks from the heat as often as you can.

Be sure to check on your family, friends and neighbors who may not have air conditioning. If needed, offer to take them to a place to stay cool, like a shopping mall, cooling center or library.

Older people are among the most susceptible to heat-related illness and deaths. With age, we lose some of our ability to adapt to the heat. This is why it’s important to check on others.

Every heat-related illness and death is preventable.

Remember that:

  • Extreme heat can occur quickly, without warning
  • Extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees
  • Older adults, children and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat

Symptoms of a heat stroke include:

  • Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness (coma)
  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Seizures
  • Very high body temperature

What to do if you see someone having a heat stroke, according to the CDC:

  • Get the person to a shady area
  • Cool the person by using whatever means you can. For example, put them in a tub of cool water, place them in a cool shower, spray them with cool water from a garden hose, or, if the humidity is low, wrap them in a cool, wet sheet and fan them
  • Don’t give the person suffering from heatstroke any fluids to drink
  • Continue to cool the person until help arrives or his/her body temperature falls below 102 degrees and stays there
  • A heat stroke is a medical emergency that may result in death! Call 911 immediately.

Another heat-related illness is heat exhaustion. It’s the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. People who work in a hot environment, especially outside, are prone to heat exhaustion. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, dozens of workers die or become sick while working in extreme heat.

Under OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing workplaces free of known safety hazard.

Signs of a heat stroke:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

What to do if someone is having a heat stroke:

  • Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down
  • Loosen or remove clothing
  • Take a cool bath
  • Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar
  • Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour

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