SURVIVING HIGH HEAT
Everyone is susceptible to the effects of high heat, but it is particularly dangerous for:
--People over the age of 55
--Those with diabetes, heart, and respiratory problems
--Individuals with high blood pressure
--People with mental and physical disabilities
--Infants and small children
Some medications, such as antibiotics and those prescribed for skin conditions, can cause normally healthy individuals to be more susceptible to the heat, also.
There are ways to beat the heat, though.
--Avoid or reduce strenuous outdoor activity. If necessary, do it during the coolest part of the day, usually 4 AM to 7 AM.
--When outside, wear a hat or use an umbrella.
--Wear lightweight, loose fitting, light colored clothing. Light colors reflect some of the sun’s energy.
--Drink plenty of water even if you aren’t thirsty.
--Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine. They can actually increase the effects of the heat or even dehydrate the body.
--Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high protein foods, as they increase your body heat.
--Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine. If possible, go to a place with air conditioning for at least a few hours a day. Fans do not cool the air but they do help cool your body. Fans should never be used without air conditioning when the room temperature is above 90 degrees and the humidity is over 35 percent. When hot, humid air is forced through a fan onto your body, it makes you even hotter, sometimes hot enough to result in death.
For more information go to www.redcross.org and look for the “Heat Wave” brochure from the American Red Cross.
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