Safe Families

Aug 22, 2014 2:38 PM

Protect Yourself from Heat Related Problems

The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) is urging everyone to take extra precaution as heat indices remain in triple digits for much of the state.

High temperatures in many areas will be in the upper 90's and when combined with humidity, it can make it feel like 105 degrees or above.

GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis says, "Late August is typically a time we remind everyone to monitor the tropics for hurricanes and other activity. It is also a time to monitor the heat. Stay hydrated, try to limit activities during the hottest part of the day and remember to check on senior citizens and others who may be vulnerable to heat related problems."

Check your local weather forecast for advisories and warnings. Listed below are a few definitions from the National Weather Service:

•Excessive Heat Outlooks: Issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days. An Outlook provides information to those who need considerable lead time to prepare for the event, such as public utility staff, emergency managers and public health officials. See the mean heat index and probability forecasts maps.

•Excessive Heat Watches: Issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours. A Watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain. A Watch provides enough lead time so that those who need to prepare can do so, such as cities officials who have excessive heat event mitigation plans.

•Excessive Heat Warning/Advisories: Issued when an excessive heat event is expected in the next 36 hours. These products are issued when an excessive heat event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring. The warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life. An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant discomfort or inconvenience and, if caution is not taken, could lead to a threat to life.

The Mayo Clinic gives this information for monitoring health related issues from the heat:
Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out mild but worsening if left untreated. Heat illnesses include:

•Heat cramps- Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. Your body temperature may be normal.

•Heat syncope and exercise-associated collapse- Heat syncope is a feeling of lightheadedness or fainting caused by high temperatures, often occurring after standing for a long period of time, or standing quickly after sitting for a long period of time. Exercise-associated collapse is feeling lightheaded or fainting immediately after exercising, such as after a race.

•Heat exhaustion- With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104 F (40 C), and you may experience signs and symptoms including nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.

•Heatstroke- Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F (40 C). Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. If your heatstroke occurs during exercise in hot, humid weather, you may continue to sweat for a short time after exercising.

You may develop signs and symptoms including confusion, irritability, heart rhythm problems, dizziness, nausea, visual problems and fatigue. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.

You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by downloading the new ALERT FM App. It is free for basic service. You can also download the new Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other important information at www.getagameplan.org. The Get a Game Plan App is also available for download to your smart phones or tablets.

 

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