Extreme Heat
Extreme Heat Precautions

Even healthy people should take it easy during extremely high temperatures, and those with respiratory and other health problems must be especially careful. Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Drink extra fluids, but avoid alcoholic beverages as alcohol can cause dehydration.

The best ways to prevent a sun stress emergency are:

Drink before you're thirsty and drink often.

Eat a healthy diet.

Wear a hat or cap, keep the neck covered and wear loose fitting clothing. The greatest amount of heat loss from the body occurs at the head. This is why it is important to wear a hat or cap in the sun.

If you can, work in the cool hours of the day or evening. Heat-related injuries fall into three major categories:

  • Heat cramps—Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that occur when the body loses electrolytes during profuse sweating or when inadequate electrolytes are taken into the body. They usually begin in the arms, legs or abdomen, and often precede heat exhaustion. Treatment for heat cramps is to rest in the shade, get near a fan, spray the person with water and massage the cramp.

  • Heat exhaustion—Heat exhaustion is a medical emergency. When a person is suffering from heat exhaustion, they will perspire profusely and most likely will be pale. It is best treated by taking the patient to a cool place, applying cool compresses, elevating the feet and giving the patient fluids.

  • Heatstroke—Heat stroke is the worst heat-related injury. The brain has lost its ability to regulate body temperature. The patient will be hot, reddish and warm to the touch. Their temperature will be markedly high and there will be no perspiration. This is a medical emergency: call 9-1-1. The emergency care of heatstroke is to cool the body as quickly as possible. One of the best methods for cooling the body during a heat emergency is to wrap the patient in cool, wet sheets.
Children and Vehicle Safety

Children should never be left alone inside of your car, even for a few minutes. Many parents mistakenly think they can leave a child in a vehicle while running a “quick” errand. Unfortunately a delay of just a few minutes can lead to tragedy. Heat is much more dangerous to children than it is to adults. When left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s core body temperature can increase three to five times faster than that of an adult -- causing permanent injury or death. When the outside temperature is 93 F, even with a window cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 125 F in just 20 minutes and approximately 140 F in 40 minutes.

While parked in a driveway, your car can be especially hazardous. Unlocked cars pose serious risks to children who are naturally curious and often lack fear. Once they crawl in, children don’t have the developmental capability to get out. The National SAFE KIDS Campaign warns parents to be especially vigilant about their children’s safety on days when temperatures are 80 degrees or higher by offering the following safety precautions to combat heat-related injuries in cars:

  • Never leave your child in an unattended car, even with the windows down.
  • Teach children not to play in or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks even at home.
  • Be wary of child-resistant locks. Teach older children how to disable the driver’s door locks if they unintentionally become entrapped in a motor vehicle.
  • Check to make sure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination.
  • Don’t overlook sleeping infants.
  • Watch children closely around cars, particularly when loading and unloading.
  • Make sure you check the temperature of the car seat surface and safety belt buckles before restraining your children in the car.
  • Use a light covering to shade the seat.
Tips for keeping animals cool:
  • Provide access to shade and plenty of cool drinking water.
  • Consider purchasing a kiddie pool and filling it with a few inches of clean water. This is a fun and effective way for your dog to cool down.
  • Have a well-ventilated doghouse that is kept in the shade -- often the plastic types are quite cool inside on a hot day. Doghouses aren’t only for dogs! They work for cats, too.
  • If you have a rabbit, keep the hutch in the shade -- in the wild, rabbits spend the hottest part of the day in their underground burrows where it’s cool.

The best thing to do is leave your pet at home on those hot days. But if that is impossible:

  • Leave car windows completely rolled down for maximum airflow. Use pet-secure window screens or keep your pet in a well-ventilated kennel.
  • Use a Secure-Easy dog leash to attach your dog to a shaded post or tree while you get your groceries, deliver your package or pick up your prescription.
  • Bring a gallon of fresh, cool water and a bowl from home. Some dogs and cats will appreciate ice cubes in their water. (Hint: A six-pack cooler holds about a gallon of water.)
  • Check on your pet every few minutes.
Important fact about pets in cars

Even on a relatively cool day of 75°F, the temperature in an enclosed car can soar to 120°F or more in minutes. In only 10 minutes, a cat or small dog can suffer from heatstroke, just a few minutes longer for larger dogs, and much less for birds and for pocket pets such as ferrets and hamsters. Even leaving your windows cracked will not allow enough fresh air to circulate, and your car turns into a convection oven.