Heat wave: How to protect yourself from heat-related illnesses


Greene County Public Health is reminding people to take extra steps to stay cool as high temperatures and humidity result in heat indices from 95 to 100 degrees.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook paired with a special weather statement regarding excessive heat from July 7 through 13.

>> Hot, humid today with chance of storms in afternoon

Without the typical cooling intervals that occur at night, exposure to the extreme heat over prolonged periods of time makes it challenging for the human body to maintain a consistent internal temperature.

The rise in internal temperature can lead to health concerns particularly for the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless and individuals with a chronic medical condition.

Greene County Public Health has released suggestions they believe everyone should follow during this time:

Stay cool 

• Stay in air-conditioned buildings. Local libraries are great places to escape the heat.

• Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.

• Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day and avoid direct sunlight. • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

• Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.

• Adjust blinds, shades, curtains and awnings to keep out the sun.

• Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

• Children and pets should not be left unattended in closed vehicles. Temperatures can reach dangerous levels rapidly.

Stay hydrated 

• Drink more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

• Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside. • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.

• Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

Stay informed 

• Check your local news for extreme heat warnings and safety tips.

• Visit www.gcph.info to find local information and tips for preventing heat sickness.

• Keep your friends, family and neighbors aware of weather and heat safety information.

>> PHOTOS: People working to keep cool during the hot stretch

Additionally, Public Health is encouraging people to learn the signs and first aid responses for heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Symptoms include:

Heat exhaustion

• Heavy sweating 
• Weakness 
• Skin cold, pale and clammy 
• Weak pulse 
• Fainting and vomitingHeat stroke• High body temperature (above 103 degrees) • Hot, red, dry or moist skin • Rapid, strong pulse • Possible unconsciousness>> Federal, state jobless benefits could stretch 98 weeks in totalIf you or someone you know if suffering from heat exhaustion move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen clothing, sip water and apply cool, wet cloths to as much as your body as possible.Seek medical attention if you are continually vomiting.Heat stroke is a medical emergency and you should call 911 immediately.Anyone suffering from heat stroke should be moved to a cooler environment and try to lower their temperature with cool cloths or even a cool bath. Do not give them fluids.