NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Heat Wave Safety Checklist

Heat Wave Safety Checklist


            Summer has arrived with an unusual intensity for many part of the country.  According to info form the American Red Cross, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. Recognizing and caring for heat-related emergencies requires specific care and immediate attention.

            During a heat wave, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Eat small meals and eat more often.  Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.  Take frequent breaks if you must work 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.

            Heat cramps are muscular pain and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen and are caused by exposure to high heat and humidity plus los of fluids and electrolytes.  Heat cramps are often an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat. 

            Heat exhaustion typically involves the loss of body fluids through heavy sweating during strenuous exercise or physical labor in high heat and humidly. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea, dizziness; weakness and exhaustion.

            For heat exhaustion, move the person to a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet clothes or towels to the skin.   If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly.  If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 911 immediately.

            Heat stroke – sometimes called sunstroke- is a life-threatening condition in which a person’s temperature control system stops working and the body is unable to cool itself. Signs of heat stroke include hot, red skin which maybe dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature.  Call 911 immediately and move the person to a cooler place.  Rapid cooling is a necessity – apply ice or cold packs wrapped in towels or clothes to wrists, ankles, .groin and armpits

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