Peninsula health officials: Take precautions during extreme heat

The Peninsula and Hampton health districts are urging residents to take precautions during extreme heat.

The heat index - the combined effects temperature and humidity - could exceed 100 degrees Tuesday, according to a news release.

“During times of excessive heat, people need to pay attention and take additional precautions,” Interim District Director Dr. S. William Berg said in the release.

“According to our statistics, almost 31 percent of the hyperthermia cases, which were related to extreme heat, involved individuals who were engaging in outside activity such as gardening,” Berg said. “Twenty-six percent of the hyperthermia cases were individuals who were inside without air conditioning.”

Residents are advised to reschedule outdoor activities and work for the cooler hours of the day. Sunlight exposure is the greatest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., officials said.

Health officials have issued the following recommendations: 

  • Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Take a cool shower or a bath. Consider a trip to the mall or a local library or visit a friend with air conditioning.  Spending at least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly reduces the number of heat-related illnesses. When temperatures reach the upper 90s or above, a fan may not prevent heat-related illness. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids (2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour.) To replace salt and minerals lost from sweating, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or when you have to work outside. However, talk to your doctor first if you’re on a fluid-restricted diet or medications, or on a low-salt diet.
  • Avoid sunburn and wear light clothing. Sunburn limits your body’s ability to keep itself cool and causes loss of body fluids.  Use sunscreen with a higher SPF.  Lighter-weight clothing that is loose fitting and light colored is more comfortable during extreme temperatures.  Use a hat to keep the head cool. 
  • Give your body a break as the heat wave can be stressful on your body. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars. Temperatures inside a car can reach more than 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.
  • Use the “buddy system” if you’re working outside. If you’re working outside and suffer a heat-related illness, you could become confused or could lose consciousness. Therefore, Make sure someone else knows of your plans. 

 

For more information about heat-related illnesses, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website at www.vdh.virginia.gov.

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