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Tips for heat wave survival

by jmaloni
Thu, Jul 21st 2011 02:55 pm

by the Niagara County Department of Health

Niagara County is experiencing a heat wave that is expected to last for the next several days. Heat waves can have serious health effects or even cause death in overheated individuals. The Niagara County Public Health Director, Daniel Stapleton, offers some common-sense measures the public can take to prevent health consequences of heat exposure.

•Watch the weather reports and adjust your activity schedule accordingly when possible. Avoid high-exertion activities. If you must exercise, do it in the early a.m. or later in the evening.

•Do not leave infants, children or pets alone in motor vehicles, ever.

•Don't swaddle or overdress infants. Remember, if you're hot, they're hot too.

•Keep everyone well hydrated. Don't wait until you are thirsty. You could already be dehydrated. In seniors, dehydration does not always trigger a thirst sensation. Keep water available. Avoid alcohol, high-sugar and caffeine-containing drinks. If you drink these beverages, alternate with water. Keep a small cooler or thermos of water in your vehicle, especially if traveling with children or driving an older car. The inside of the mouth should always be moist. A dry-appearing mouth is a sign of dehydration. Infants, children and seniors who are dependent on others for care should be carefully monitored and offered fluids several times an hour. Don't forget that pets need access to plenty of fresh water at all times.

•Breast-fed babies may need to nurse more frequently to stay hydrated. Mothers should keep water handy to replace fluids lost during breast-feeding.

•If camping, do not leave infants, children or animals asleep in tents or trailers unless the trailer is air-conditioned.

•Stay out of the sun when possible. Move kiddy pools to shaded areas. Never leave children of any age unattended in any size pool. Move pet shelters into the shade.

•Cool off in a tepid shower or bath.

•If you work or live in a cooled environment, stay inside when possible.

•Malls, department stores and movie theaters are good places to visit and to cool down.

•Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and what to do.

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