Hazards of a Heat Wave and What You Can Do To Stay Safe
Child Safety Tips
Make sure your child's safety seat and safety belt buckles aren't too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
Teach children not to play in, on or around cars.
Always lock car doors and trunks--even at home--and keep keys out of children's reach.
Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don't leave sleeping infants in the car ever!
Adult Heat Wave Safety Tips
Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or rescheduled strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, senior and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol or decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limited caffeinated beverages.
During excess heat period, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
Don't get too much sun. Sunburn reduced your body's ability to dissipate heat.
Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician
Heat Disorder Symptoms
SUNBURN: Redness and pain. In severe cases swelling of skin, blisters, fever, headaches. First Aid: Ointments for mild cases if blisters appear and do not break. If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by physician.
HEAT CRAMPS: Painful spasms usually in the muscles of legs and abdomen. Heavy sweating. First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water.
HEAT EXHAUSTION: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Pulse thready. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting. First Aid: Get victim out of sun. Once inside, the person should lay down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room. Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke): High body temperature (106° F or higher). Hot dry skin. Rapid and strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. First Aid: HEAT STROKE IS A SEVERE MEDICAL EMERGENCY. SUMMON EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE OR GET THE VICTIM TO A HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY. DELAY CAN BE FATAL. White waiting for emergency assistance, move the victim to a cooler environment Reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners. If temperature rises again, repeat process. Do not give fluids. Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.
For more information contact your local American Red Cross Chapter. Ask to enroll in a first aid course.