Heat waves occur every summer in many parts of the country. An extreme heat event happens when the temperature is more than 90 degrees and there is high humidity for at least two or three days.
That kind of heat can be dangerous, particularly for older adults and children. In fact, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards.
So, how do you stay cool when the heat is on? Try these tips:
- Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees. You could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.
- Find an air-conditioned location, like a library or shopping mall, to cool off if you don’t have air conditioning at home. Make sure you follow all local guidance on wearing a mask and social distancing when entering a public building.
- Keep your home cooler by weatherstripping doors and windows and closing drapes and blinds.
- Check on yourself, co-workers, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.
- Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day. If you are on campus and see either children or pets left unattended in a vehicle, please call the Department of Public Safety at 208-426-6911.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Campus Facilities has Gatorade cooling stations stationed around campus any student or employee can use.
- Avoid high-energy activities.
Extreme heat exposure can cause severe illnesses. Here’s what to you need to know:
Heat cramps. Signs of heat cramps include muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs. If you see signs of heat cramps, go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.
Heat exhaustion. Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea, and vomiting. If you have signs of heat exhaustion, go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Call your health care provider if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
Heat stroke. This condition is more severe than heat exhaustion and is life threatening. Call 911 or get the person to the hospital immediately if they show these signs: body temperature over 103 degrees, red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat, rapid pulse, dizziness, confusion, or unconsciousness.
Visit ready.gov/heat for more information on keeping cool during hot summer months.
Source: FEMA July 2021 Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter