Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2012
 
CONTACT:
Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356
leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov
 
It’s a Scorcher - Protect Yourself From Heat-Related Illness
 
Lincoln – High temperatures combined with high humidity can be a dangerous combination according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 
 
“The body normally cools itself by sweating. When humidity is high, sweat doesn’t evaporate as fast. That prevents the body from releasing heat, causing its temperature control system to overload,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health for DHHS.
The risk for heat-related illness and death is higher for infants and the elderly, whose internal thermostats do not regulate body temperature well. People with chronic medical conditions, outdoor workers and people who exercise outside are also at increased risk.
 
Stay cool and avoid heat-related illness by following these tips: 
  • Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.
  • Avoid alcohol and limit drinks with caffeine.
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
  • Never leave children in a parked car or your pets.
  • Pets can suffer from heat-related illness too. If your pet spends its days outside, make sure it has plenty of fresh water and shade.
  • If outdoors, slow your pace and take frequent rest breaks.
  • Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
  • Try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, go to a library or another public building where you can cool off.
  • Check on elderly friends and neighbors. Make sure they’re staying cool and hydrated.

Heat exhaustion can develop following exposure for several days to high temperatures. Symptoms include rapid heartbeat, cold, pale clammy skin, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.

Heatstroke, the most serious heat-related illness, is a medical emergency characterized by a body temperature of 103 degrees F or greater. Symptoms include hot, red skin, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, disorientation, delirium, and coma.

Anyone suffering from these conditions should be moved into the shade or air conditioning. If heatstroke or serious heat exhaustion is suspected, get emergency medical assistance.

NOTE: Here’s a link to a heat stress index - http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml

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