Health Department: Heat Related Deaths are Preventable

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City Updates | General | Health Department |

Unfortunately Wisconsin has experienced its first heat related death this summer.  This is a sad reminder to us that high temperatures can be deadly and should be taken seriously. Hot weather is especially dangerous for older adults, infants and young children, individuals with chronic health conditions, those who work outdoors or in hot settings, and isolated individuals who may not know how to cool off or ask for help.

What can you do to help prevent heat related deaths in our community?  During days of hot weather please check on neighbors, friends, and family. Know the symptoms of Heat-Related Illness and what to do.

  • HEAT CRAMPS - cramps or muscle spasms in the abdomen, arms or legs.
    • Solution: Stop activity. Cool down, drink clear juice or sports drink.
  • HEAT EXHAUSTION - heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, fainting.
    • Solution: Cool down, seek medical attention.
  • HEAT STROKE - extremely high body temperature, red, hot, dry skin, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, unconsciousness.
    • Solution: Call 911 and cool the victim with shower or hose until help arrives.

Tips to keep Cool

  • Never leave children, disabled persons, or pets in a parked car - even briefly. Temperatures in a car can become life threatening within minutes. On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked slightly can reach 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes! Click here for demonstration of extreme heat in cars (wmv 3Mb)
  • Keep your living space cool or seek shelter at cooling center: If you have an air conditioner, use it. Cover windows to keep the sun from shining in. If you don’t have an air conditioner you should consider going to a community cooling center. If you stay at home, open windows to let air circulate. At extreme high temperatures, a fan loses its ability to effectively reduce heat-related illness. When it’s hotter than 95 degrees use fans to blow hot air out of the window rather than to blow hot air on your body. Basements or ground floors are often cooler than higher floors.
  • Slow down and limit physical activity. Plan outings or exertion for the early morning or after dark, when temperatures are cooler.
  • Drink plenty of water and eat lightly. Don't wait for thirst, but instead drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid alcohol or caffeine and stay away from hot, heavy meals.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Add a hat or umbrella to keep your head cool…and don't forget sunscreen!
  • Don't stop taking medication unless your doctor says you should. Take extra care to stay cool, and ask your doctor or pharmacist for any special heat advice.
  • Taking a cool shower or bath will cool you down. A shower or bath will actually work faster than air conditioner. Applying cold wet rags to the neck, head and limbs also cools down the body quickly.
  • Don’t forget your pets.  Make sure your pets have access to shade and cool water.

Remember, heat related deaths are preventable.  Help make this summer a safe and heathly one.


Your Oak Creek Health Department