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Red Cross Offers Heat Safety Tips
· Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Eat small meals and eat more often.
· Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
· Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Postpone outdoor games and activities.
· Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors, and use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
· Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
· Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles. Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
Excessive heat and humidity is not just uncomfortable—it can lead to a life-threatening situation. Know the signs for each of these conditions and what to do if they occur.
These are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen. They are caused by exposure to high heat and humidity and loss of fluids and electrolytes. Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.
Heat exhaustion typically involves the loss of body fluids through heavy sweating during strenuous exercise or physical labor in high heat and humidity.
Signs: cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion.
What to do:
· Move the person to a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition.
· If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
Also known as sunstroke, this is a life-threatening condition in which a person’s temperature control system stops working and the body is unable to cool itself.
Signs: hot, red skin that may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature.
What to do:
· Heat stroke is life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
· Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by giving care as you would for heat exhaustion. If needed, continue rapid cooling by applying ice or cold packs wrapped in a cloth to the wrists, ankles, groin, neck and armpits.
HOW PEOPLE CAN HELP Those who want to help can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. People can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
HOW TO FIND RED CROSS SHELTERS People who have been forced to evacuate can find out where Red Cross shelters are open by going to www.redcross.org or accessing the free Red Cross phone app. Both are refreshed with updated information every 30 minutes. Residents can also monitor local media—radio, newspaper and television—to find out where local shelters are located.
REGISTER ON SAFE AND WELL The Red Cross Safe and Well website is also available. People affected by the fires and flooding can access the site and let loved ones know where they are. There are several ways to register on Safe and Well, or search for a loved one. From a computer, visit redcross.org; from a smart phone, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to be connected with one’s local Red Cross chapter.