Public health officials urge caution during extreme heat

Public health officials urge caution during extreme heat
August 03
11:57 2017

The hottest temperatures of the summer hit parts of North Carolina last month, with temperatures reaching the upper 90s with heat indexes topping 100 degrees. It’s still summer, so people are not out of the woods yet.

According to the North Carolina Heat Report, emergency department visits for heat-related illnesses statewide hit 373 during the week of July 9-15.

Seventy-seven percent of illness was among males, mostly ages 25-44. Most people who were treated referenced working outdoors on landscaping and roofing projects, outdoor recreation such as gardening, hiking or attending outdoor events, alcohol use and diabetes.

Since the beginning of heat season (May 1), Forsyth County has had 39 visits to the emergency department for health-related illnesses.

“We strongly encourage you to take precautions in the extreme heat by staying in cool air-conditioned spaces as much as possible and checking on loved ones as temperatures soar to the high 90s,” said Public Health Director Marlon Hunter.  “For Forsyth County residents who must work outside, we encourage you to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids frequently to minimize the risk of heat-related illnesses.”

Symptoms of heat-related stress and illness include muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, fainting, headaches, nausea and vomiting. If you have these symptoms, seek medical care.

Children, older adults, outdoor workers, people with chronic health conditions or those on heat-sensitive medications are most vulnerable to illness during the hot summer months.

To reduce risk of heat-related illness:

*Drink plenty of fluids.

*If spending multiple hours outside, take breaks in cool or air-conditioned environments.

*Speak with your physician about how to stay safe if you take medicines that make you more vulnerable to heat, such as drugs for high blood pressure, migraines, allergies, muscle spasms, mental illness and tranquilizers. 

*Reduce time spent outside during the hottest part of the day, usually 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

*Never leave children or pets unattended in vehicles especially during warm or hot weather as temperature levels inside a car can reach a lethal level in a matter of minutes.

Stay updated on local weather forecasts so you can plan activities safely when it’s hot outside and check local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.

For more information on how to prevent heat-related health issues and to learn about heat-related illnesses in North Carolina, visit: 

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