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Jul 20

Beat the Heat: Tips to Stay Cool

Posted on July 20, 2015 at 11:54 AM by OCOM Specialist

Information Provided by the City of Falls Church Police Department – Office of Emergency Management

It's the time of year when the heat and humidity are at record temperatures. Take measures to stay cool, hydrated and safe. Getting too hot can make you sick if your body can't properly cool you off.

Types of Heat-Related Illnesses
Seek help or dial 9-1-1 if you feel symptoms of heat-related illness
  • Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms, usually in the leg or stomach muscles, resulting from heavy exertion during extreme heat. Heat cramps usually occur when the heat index is between 90 and 105 degrees.
  • Heat exhaustion occurs when body fluids are lost through heavy sweating due to vigorous exercise or working in a hot, humid place. Symptoms include: sweating, pale and clammy skin, fatigue, headache, dizziness, shallow breaths, and a weak pulse.
  • Heat stroke — also called "sunstroke" — occurs when the victim's temperature control system, which produces perspiration to cool the body, stops working. The skin is flushed, hot and dry, and body temperature may be elevated. The victim may also be confused, develop seizures, breathe shallowly, and have a weak, rapid pulse.
Quick Heat-Beating Tips
  • If possible, stay out of the sun. When in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, keep rooms well-ventilated with open windows and fans. Consider going to a pool or air-conditioned public building such as a mall, movie theater, library or cooling center.
  • Fans work best at night, when they can bring in cooler air from outside.
  • Make a special effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are seniors, young children, and people with special needs.
  • Seniors and others who may be sensitive to extreme heat should contact friends, neighbors, or relatives at least twice a day during a heat wave.
  • Drink fluids – particularly water – even if you do not feel thirsty.  Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.
  • Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car during periods of intense summer heat.
  • Avoid strenuous activity when you can, especially during the sun’s peak hours, 11AM-4PM.

For more information about staying cool and safe during periods of extreme heat, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.