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Preventing Summer Heat Injuries


HANFORD – Summer officially begins on Saturday, June 21, 2014, but we’re already experiencing above average temperatures for this time of year.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones against heat-related injuries.

Drink Plenty of Fluid - drink 2-4 glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids every hour. Avoid very cold beverages to prevent stomach cramps; or drinks containing alcohol, which will cause you to lose more fluid. Consult with your doctor if you have been prescribed a fluid-restricted diet or diuretics.

Replace Salt and Minerals - Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body, which are necessary for your body and must be replaced. To replace those minerals, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or any work in the heat. Do not take salt tablets unless directed by your doctor. If you are on a low-salt diet, ask your doctor before changing what you eat or drink.

Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen – Wear as little clothing as possible when at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing. In the hot sun, sunscreen is recommended. Check the sun protection factor (SPF) number on the label of the container. Select SPF 15 or higher.

Pace Yourself – If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, stop all activity, get into a cool or shady area and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or feel faint.

Stay Cool Indoors – The best way to beat the heat is to stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have an air conditioner or evaporative cooling unit, consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library for a few hours. Do not rely on electric fans as your primary source of cooling during a heat wave.

Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully – If you must be in the heat, plan your activities so you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening. While outdoors, rest frequently in a shady area.

Use a Buddy System – When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. If you are 65 years or older, have a friend or relative call or check on you twice a day during a heat wave.

Warning Signs of Heat Stroke:

  • Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Unconsciousness
  • Dizziness, nausea and confusion
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache 

Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Paleness, tiredness, dizziness

If you notice any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency and should seek medical attention.