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As Temperatures Soar into the 90s- Get tips on how to prevent heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heatstroke

Written by Contributor. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on July 24, 2019 with No Comments

by Star Lawrence

This summer has been a scorcher in much of the nation, with temperatures soaring into the 90s from the western Plains to the East Coast.

What’s Hot?

But the line on the thermometer is not the only way weathermen define heat. They have created a Heat Index, which combines heat and humidity to create a sort of ‘misery index.’ The temp may be 100 degrees, but combined with humidity (which inhibits sweat from evaporating off the skinand cooling the body), the Heat Index may climb into the danger zone at 105 degrees or higher.

By danger zone, they mean: danger of vomitingin public, collapsing, or even dying.

Who’s Most Likely to Suffer?

According to the CDC, the elderly, children under 4, people who are overweight, those who become dehydrated, the mentally ill, or people with medical conditions, or who are on certain medicationsseem to be the most susceptible targets of a heat wave.

“You know who we see a lot?” asks Dr. Bruce Bonanno, an emergency physician. “We see young people coming in. One place I work is a beach community. They drink the night before and think their drinks are hydrating them, when they are doing the exact opposite. Then they go to the beach the next day, fall asleep, bake in the sun, and each day get a little more behind on their fluids. Eventually, they end up in the ER.”

Heat Exhaustion

People suffer a heat-related illness when the body’s temperature system is overloaded. The body is sweating, but the sweat is not evaporating due to humidity. Eventually, like a runny egg white, the brainbegins to “cook.”

The most common heat-related illness is heat exhaustion. This usually builds up over several days of activities in a hot environment, without proper replacement of fluids.

The symptoms are:

To help the person, provide cool fluids immediately, anything nonalcoholic, but preferably water. Have the person lie down inside or take a cool bath or shower and then rest.

If the person’s symptoms are severe or there are pre-existing medical problems, such as high blood pressure or heart disease, then you need to get medical attention right away.

The ER, Bonanno says, has sports drinks on hand. If the person is not sick enough to warrant an IV, they can sip the drinks in the waiting room.

Heatstroke

If someone experiencing heat exhaustion isn’t treated (see below), it can progress to heatstroke, also known as sunstroke. This is very serious. Heatstrokeoccurs when the body simply cannot control its temperature anymore and the body’s temp rockets to 106 degrees or higher within 10 minutes to 15 minutes. This can cause permanent brain damageor death if not treated immediately.

The symptoms of heatstroke are:

Extremelyhigh body temperatureof 103 degrees (by oral thermometer) or more

Red, hot, dry skin(lack of sweating)

Rapid, pounding pulse

Throbbingheadache

Nausea

Confusion

Unconsciousness

If someone faints or stops making sense near you:

Call 911 immediately.

While the EMTs are en route, get the victim to a shady area or inside.

Get the person cool immediately. Do whatever you have to — wet compresses, a cool shower, spray them with water from a hose, wrap in a cool, wet sheet and fan them.

If vomiting occurs, turn the person on the side.

Heat Cramps

Heat crampsare due to muscle spasms, usually in the abdomen, arms, or legs. This is usually a result of so much sweating that the body is low on sodium. People on a low-sodium diet have to watch for this.

People with heartproblems or who are on low-sodium diets need to seek medical attention right away for heat cramps. If you or someone you know gets heat cramps, stop all activity and get inside. Drink a clear juice or sports drink (if you are on a low-sodium diet, check with the doctor first). Do not go back outside for several hours, even if the cramps subside, because further exertion could lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. If the cramps last more than an hour, check with a doctor.

Heat Rash

This is more common in youngsters, but anyone can get it. Heat rashis an irritation of the skin that comes from excessive sweating. Common areas that develop heat rash are the neck, upper chest, groin, under thebreasts, and in elbow creases. The solution is to keep the area clean and dry. Avoid using creams because they can form a barrier keeping the area moist and hot making heat rash worse.

Dos and Don’ts for Extreme Heat

Do:

Drink a lot of fluids, even if you aren’t thirsty.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or sugared sodas because they can make fluid leave your body faster.

Stay indoors if at all possible.

Go to a mall, movie, or friend’s or relative’s home if your air-conditioning goes out. See if there are heat-relief shelters nearby for the night.

Buy a fan to move air around, even if it’s air-conditioned air. But remember, air-conditioning is best above 90 degrees.

Wear light-colored, loose clothing. Don’t overwrap babies; put a shade over them instead.

If you go out, do it early or after dark.

Cut down on exercise. Bonanno has shortened his workouts considerably. “It’s not even really cool enough in the morning,” he says.

Stay in the shade.

Move slowly.

Wear a wide-brimmed hat.

Check on elderly neighbors or relatives.

Give pets plenty of water or bring them inside.

Tune into weather broadcasts for the latest heat advisory or alert and heed it!

Let outside workers take more frequent breaks.

Take a paper towel or hankie and drape it on your face when you come inside. Other “hot spots” to place a cool compress for quick cooling include the back of your neck, underarms, and groin area.

Don’t:

Drink ice-cold drinks; they can cause stomach cramping.

Leave any people or animals in a closed car.

Take salt tablets unless the doctor says so.

Assume you are immune to heat outside just because you work in a hot environment like a bakery or pizza parlor. The damage can accumulate through the day.

Fanatically insist on your usual joggingor exerciseroutine, thinking the danger is not real.

Skimp on water. If you are outside a lot in even 90 degrees, you can lose a half gallon of water in 10 minutes.

Staying safe in high temperatures is relatively simple: Don’t take chances when Mother Nature is turning up the heat.

Source: WebMD, CDC

 

Area Cooling Center Information

An Excessive Heat Warning will continue in Northwest Indiana.  Cooling centers are available across the Region.

COOLING CENTER LOCATIONS ANNOUNCED

An excessive heat warning is now for Northwest Indiana.

Temperatures will be peaking in the 90s each day and the heat indices peaking at 102 to 112 each day.

The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Have a cool place to shelter from the heat. Avoid outdoor activity, especially strenuous ones, drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, and check on relatives and neighbors. Those without air conditioning, elderly, small children and pets are especially susceptible. Cooling centers are located at the following locations along with numbers to call if doors are not open.

CHESTERTON

Town Hall 726 Broadway, Chesterton Police Department non-emergency call 219-926-1136

HEBRON

Fire Dept. 109 N. Washington St, Dispatch non-emergency call 219-477-3170

Police Dept. 611 N. Main, Dispatch non-emergency call 219-477-3170

KOUTS

Fire Dept. 108 E. Mentor St, Dispatch non-emergency call 219-477-3170

HOBART

The City has opened the following locations to the Hobart public from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm:

Fire Station #2 Community Room – 2411 W Old Ridge Rd.

PCC Meeting Room – 705 E. 4th St.

The Hobart branch, 100 Main St., of the Lake County Library is also open to Lake County residents Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., for more information call 219-942-2243.

LAKE OF THE FOUR SEASONS

Fire Station 745 E 275 South, Dispatch non-emergency call 219-477-3170

OGDEN DUNES

Fire Dept. 111 Hillcrest Rd. Dispatch non-emergency call 219-477-3170

PORTAGE

Woodland Park 2100 Willowcreek Rd. Dispatch non-emergency call 219-477-3170

PORTER

Porter Community Building 500 Ackerman Dr. Porter – Chesterton Dispatch non-emergency call 219-926-7611

Porter Fire Station 550 West Beam St. Porter – Chesterton Dispatch non-emergency call 219-926-7611

VALPARAISO

Valparaiso YMCA 1202 Cumberland Crossing, during normal business hours

Porter County Public Library 103 Jefferson St. during normal business hours

Vale Park Enrichment Center 605 Beach St., Mon-Fri 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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