Health and Family Services Cabinet
Take Precautions to Keep Your Cool in Hot Weather
Extreme Heat Can Pose Serious Threat to Health
Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) are advising Kentuckians to follow some common-sense safety tips to keep your cool during this period of extreme heat.
“It’s wise to follow some general precautions, given the extremity of this heat wave,” said Governor Fletcher, a physician. “Generally speaking, when temperatures rise to the upper 90s or low 100s, there are some real risks of heat-related illness or ailments.”
According to William Hacker, M.D., acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner, following these precautions can make the difference between just being hot or being seriously ill:
· Drink plenty of fluid. Increase your normal fluid intake regardless of your activity level. You will need to drink more fluids than your thirst level indicates. This is especially true for people age 65 or older who often have a decreased ability to respond to external temperature changes. In addition, avoid drinking beverages containing alcohol, because they will actually cause you to lose more fluid.
· Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen. Choose lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing. In the hot sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat that will provide shade and keep the head cool. Sunscreen should be SPF 15 or greater and applied 30 minutes before going out into the sun.
· Stay cool indoors. The most efficient way to beat the heat is to stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have an air conditioner, consider visiting a mall or public library.
· Schedule outdoor activities carefully. If you must be out in the heat, try to plan your activities so that you are outdoors either before noon or in the evening. Rest periodically so your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover.
· Use a buddy system. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness.
· Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
- Infants and children up to 4 years of age
- People 65 years of age or older
- People who are overweight
- People who overexert during work or exercise
- People who are ill or on certain medications for blood pressure or diuretics
“We also want to remind citizens of the dangers of extremely hot cars and not to leave children or pets in vehicles during these heat waves – even if it’s only for a few minutes,” Hacker said. “Also, don’t forget to give your pet plenty of water, shade and a place to stay cool.”