EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH WARNINGS
Here’s what you can do to prepare
yourself and your family
Stay indoors as much as possible. If
air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of
the sunshine. Try to go to a public building with air conditioning
each day for several hours. Remember, electric fans do not cool the
air, but they do help sweat evaporate, which cools your body.
Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light
colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy.
Drink plenty of water regularly and often. Your body
needs water to keep cool.
Drink plenty of fluids even if you do not feel
Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat
emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can
make you feel good briefly, but make the heat’s effects on your body
worse. This is especially true about beer, which dehydrates the
Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that
are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by
Signals of heat emergencies
Cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating;
headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body
temperature will be near normal.
Hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak
pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very
high—as high as 105° F. If the person was sweating from heavy work
or exercise, skin may be wet; otherwise, it will feel dry.
what these terms mean
Prolonged period of excessive heat and humidity. The
National Weather Service steps up its procedures to alert the public
during these periods of excessive heat and humidity.
A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot
it really feels when relative humidity is added to the actual air
temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index
by 15° F.
Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to
heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are
an early signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people
exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are
lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases,
causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in
a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim may suffer heat
Heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim’s
temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the
body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that
brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
Another term for heat stroke.
If a heat wave is predicted or
Treatment of heat emergencies
Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her
rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle
and replenish fluids. Give a half glass of cool water every 15
minutes. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them, as
they can make conditions worse.
Get the person out of the heat and into a cooler
place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths,
such as towels or sheets. If the person is conscious, give cool
water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Give a half
glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not give liquids that
contain alcohol or caffeine. Let the victim rest in a comfortable
position, and watch carefully for changes in his or her condition.
Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation. Help is
needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Move the
person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body. Immerse victim in a
cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. Watch for
signals of breathing problems. Keep the person lying down and
continue to cool the body any way you can. If the victim refuses
water or is vomiting or there are changes in the level of
consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink.