Coldwater, MI –   With the anticipated heat and high heat index expected for the next few days, drinking enough fluids is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heat illness. Water is generally the best choice for keeping the body hydrated and healthy. Water will almost always maintain hydration when working in the heat. You should also eat regular meals to replace the salt your body loses when sweating.

“During the first days of high heat we experienced in May, the area saw an increase in the number of heat related illness emergency room visits. Proper planning for the expected heat can reduce your risk of heat related illness,” says Dr. Karen Luparello, Medical Director.

You can reduce your risk for heat related illness by:

  • Dressing in loose fitting, light weight, light colored clothing.
  • Staying hydrated with plenty of water.
  • Keeping strenuous activity to a minimum during the hottest parts of the day (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
  • Staying indoors and in the shade. Keep curtains and shades drawn to keep the sun out of your home.
  • Going to a local cooling center if you do not have air conditioning in your home.
  • Preparing for potential loss of power due to weather and high demand for electricity.

Look before you lock to ensure small children are not in the back seat of your vehicle. The anticipated heat can cause severe illness and death in a short period of time if left in a hot car. If you see a child left in a vehicle, call 9-1-1 and do whatever is needed to get the child from the vehicle until help arrives.

Protect pets and livestock by ensuring they have shelter from the sun, access to fresh food, and clean drinking water. Do not leave your pet in a vehicle. Like small children, they can also succumb to heat related illness and death.

Be a good neighbor by checking on your most vulnerable family members and neighbors. Senior citizens, children, and those with disabilities are at higher risk of a heat related illness.

The signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, skin that is cold, pale, clammy, a fast, weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle or abdominal cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness and headache.  If you feel signs of heat exhaustion you should rest in a cool place, drink cool fluids, loosen clothing, and try cooling measures such as a cool damp cloth on the forehead and under your arm pits.

Heat stroke is a severe condition that requires immediate medical attention.  The signs of heat stroke include still feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking fluids, not sweating even if you feel hot, you have a temperature of 104 or greater, difficulty breathing, confusion, loss of consciousness, or seizure. Contact 9-1-1 if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms.

BHSJCHA is committed to promoting wellness, preventing disease, providing healthcare, and protecting the environment. For additional information, contact your local health department office or visit www.bhsj.org and follow us on our new Instagram at BHSJ_Healthagency or Facebook at www.facebook.com/BHSJCHA.