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The City of Titusville, Florida / Fire & Emergency Services / News

Summer Heat Warnings

WHO IS IN DANGER FROM HEAT STRESS?

  • Elderly people (65 years and older)
  • Infants and children
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • Anyone who spends time in the sun and fails to take safety precautions
 
 
scorching sun

Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn't enough. In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs.

Several factors affect the body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions related to risk include age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use.

Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. However, even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.

Conditions of extreme heat are defined as summertime temperatures that are substantially hotter and/or more humid than average for location at that time of year. Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a "dome" of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground. Extremely dry and hot conditions can provoke dust storms and low visibility. Droughts occur when a long period passes without substantial rainfall. A heat wave combined with a drought is a very dangerous situation.

During Hot Weather

Summertime activity, whether on the playing field or the construction site, must be balanced with measures that aid the body's cooling mechanisms and prevent heat-related illness. To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high, remember to keep cool and use common sense. The following tips are important:

  1. During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.  Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  2. Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol, or large amounts of sugar—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  3. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. During conditions of extreme heat, spend time in locations with air-conditioning such as shopping malls, public libraries, or public health sponsored heat-relief shelters in your area.
  4. Take frequent breaks and move into the shade to allow your body a chance to cool itself down.
  5. Wear a hat and avoid clothing that doesn't absorb sweat or allow sweat to evaporate.
  6. If possible, time your activities to avoid the hottest parts of a summer day: between 11 a.m.--4 p.m.
  7. When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness.
  8. Pace yourself--if you are not accustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
For more information regarding this topic, go to the Center for Disease Control's website at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide-page-3.asp  or contact Life Safety Specialist Heather Gilmore, Titusville Fire and Emergency Services at 321-383-5708 or www.titusville.com




P. O. Box 2806, (32781-2806) - 555 S. Washington Avenue - Titusville, FL 32796 - Phone: (321) 567-3775 - Fax: (321) 383-5704 - Site by Project A