Temperatures in the Tennessee Valley will top 100 degrees over the next few days and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department urges everyone to take precautions to avoid heat-related illness.
Follow these tips in extreme heat:
· Stay in an air-conditioned location
· Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water or sugar free sports drinks
· Wear loose, lightweight, light colored clothing and sunscreen
· If you must work outside, pace yourself and stay hydrated
· Do not leave people or pets in cars for any length of time
· Check on elderly neighbors and those with health issues who might be at risk
Heat-related illness can affect everyone, even those who are young and healthy.
People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs. Those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include infants and children up to four years of age, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, and people who are ill or on certain medications.
Heat exhaustion can develop suddenly or after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, those with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in a hot environment.
Warning signs of heat exhaustion can include:
· Heavy sweating
· Muscle cramps
· Tiredness, weakness
· Dizziness and headache
· Nausea or vomiting
A person experiencing heat exhaustion should take the following steps to cool down:
· Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages
· Take a cool shower or bath
· Seek an air-conditioned environment
Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. Signs of heat stroke can include:
· An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
· Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
· Rapid, strong pulse
· Throbbing headache
· Confusion or unconsciousness
If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call for medical assistance right away and try to cool the person as quickly as possible until help arrives.
To learn more about heat-related illness, visit our website, www.health.hamiltontn.org.
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