The dog days of summer are here. People are encouraged to stay safe on these hot summer days and to take some precautions if they need to head outside.
“This time of year can be dangerous,” Great Bend Fire Department Paramedic Nathaniel Florian said. “Steps should be taken if people are out in the heat working or just enjoying a summer day with family.”
Staying hydrated is the main goal for people in the heat. Wearing loose clothing and taking breaks when needed can save a life.
“The most important thing people need to do if they are in the heat is staying hydrated by drinking cool water. If you are having to work outside take frequent breaks to cool off. If you can get inside where it’s cool do so. If not, find a shady spot to take your break.” Florian said.
Another important step is to make sure not to leave children or pets in a vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. This can be deadly in just a matter of minutes.
According to Florian and the American Red Cross, these important steps should be followed:
• Avoid extreme temperature changes.
• 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.
• Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
• 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.
• Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.
• If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should choose places to go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters).
Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.
If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are 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.
Heat stroke is life-threatening. Signs include: hot red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 911 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke.
Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersion up to the neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.