After a mild spring, it may be a shock to the system when temperatures are headed toward a possible recording-breaking 100-degree mark this week. The Valley Health System urges all Southern Nevada residents to protect their health by reading the following heat safety tips, and learning the signs of heat illness.
Heat Safety Tips
- Stay inside during the hottest parts of the day; run your errands in the early morning or later evening.
- If you are outside, wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, a hat and sunscreen. Protect your feet by using sunscreen and wearing water shoes or flip flops. Be sure to consider your pets’ paws and the heat of the streets and sidewalks.
- Cool your car as much as possible. Crack the windows for ventilation. Cover your steering wheel and car seats so they are cooler to touch. Protect your hands when touching door handles or opening/closing the trunks.
- Some medications may cause you to be more susceptible to the heat. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself.
- The very young and the elderly are more susceptible to heat; keep a close watch on younger children and create a communication plan with older relatives and friends so they know how to reach you in case of emergencies.
- Protect your skin. Wear hats or use umbrellas to fend off the harsh sun rays. Replenish sunscreen to avoid sunburns. Be sure to apply sunscreen to scalps, tips of ears, tops of feet and whatever your clothes or bathing suit doesn’t cover. Don’t forget the back of your neck, arms and legs.
- Schedule hydration breaks throughout the day. When playing outdoors, it’s important to take water breaks every 20 to 30 minutes. Because our perspiration evaporates so quickly in Southern Nevada, we may not be aware of our water loss, so set the alarm on your phone to remind you to take a drink. Always bring extra water when running errands.
- Think before you drink. Water is the best source to rehydrate your body and, if you are actively exercising, sports beverages can help replace the salt and minerals lost during exercise. Alcohol and soda can dehydrate the body, so sip those in moderation during the summer months. Take advantage of water-based foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes to keep hydrated.
- Beat the heat and stay cooler by seeking shade, wearing a hat or carrying an umbrella, placing a cold towel around your neck and behind your knees, running your wrists under cold water, sitting in front of a fan, or taking a cool bath or shower.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Illness
- Muscle cramping
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale and clammy skin
- A fast but weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
What to do: Immediately take steps to cool down the body and if the person doesn't feel better, seek immediate medical attention.
- A body temperature above 103 degrees
- Hot, red, dry or moist skin
- A rapid and strong pulse
- Possible unconsciousness
What to do: Immediate medical attention is required. Call 9-1-1. Take steps to cool the body but do not give the person fluids.