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Staying Safe in Extreme Heat

Stay Safe in Extreme Heat

Temperatures across the United States are steadily rising each year. This month (June 2022) temperatures will reach triple digits across much of the country. Extreme heat is dangerous. The following information can help save lives.

What is Exreme Heat? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines extreme heat as “summertime temperatures that are much hotter and/or humid than average” for a particular area. 

Beware of Dehydration. To avoid dehydration, you should hydrate whenever you feel thirsty. But avoid overdoing it. Experts also caution against drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or caffeine, both of which can be dehydrating. A good way to know whether you’re adequately hydrated is to pay attention to the color of your urine. Dark yellow urine is not a good sign. Clear urine is a sign of good hydration. Severe dehydration may be marked by symptoms including decreased urination, very dry skin, rapid heart rate, palpitations, rapid breathing, lightheadedness, dizziness, confusion and fainting.

What is Heat Stroke? The blistering heat is resulting in difficult living conditions, especially for communities that lack resources to provide relief. As your body works to cool down, the heart works harder in an effort to pump blood up just below the surface of the skin, where it can get cooler. The kidneys work harder to conserve your body’s water. When your body temperature gets too high, it will ultimately cause your body’s proteins to break down, its enzymes to stop regulating your organs’ functions and your organs to start shutting down. This is a heat stroke: Your body essentially cooks to the point where you have multi-organ failure. This article from the Washington Post illustrates what extreme heat does to the body.

How to Stay Safe During Extreme Heat: Your priority should be keeping yourself cool and hydrated. Make sure you can access a space with air conditioning. You could also spend time at indoor public places such as malls or libraries, especially during the hottest parts of the day. If you only have a fan, experts recommend misting yourself with a spray bottle of cold water.

If you have to work outdoors, dress in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and protect yourself from the sun with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. The hotter it is, the more frequently you should be taking breaks. You can also try to stay cool by soaking your head and shirt in water. OSHA has provided infographics and even an app, named HEAT, to help people stay safe while working in extreme heat. Download the HEAT app for iPhone or Android.

This information above was is from the Washington Post article, “How to Stay Safe in Extreme Heat”, published on June 10, 2022.