Richmond and Henrico Health Districts (RHHD) and Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) encourage Richmond area residents to take precautions to avoid heat-related illness this weekend.
“Severe hot weather can pose risks to individuals’ health,” says Jessica Coughlin, emergency manager at RHHD. “Folks can still have fun this summer while staying safe… just stay aware of the temperature, personal health considerations, and safety precautions.”
According to Chad Greedan, director of field operations at RAA, people in the region experience emergencies when the heat index rises.
“Unfortunately, we can see an uptick in heat related illnesses and calls when temperatures get really high,” says Greedan. “We want to help the community recognize the signs of heat illness so they don’t have an emergency situation.”
RHHD and RAA recommend the following to remain safe during high temperatures:
- Stay cool indoors. Stay in air-conditioned places as much as possible. If air conditioning your home is difficult, consider spending some time in a public library, shopping mall, or other public air conditioned building. Taking a cool shower or bath and minimizing the use of the stove and oven can help keep a lower temperature in the house. Wear light and loose clothing. Electric fans will not prevent heat related illness if the temperature is above ninety degrees.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully. Try to limit outdoor activities to when it’s coolest like in the morning or evening. Rest often in shady areas.
- Stay hydrated. Drink more fluids, avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks, and replace salt and minerals. Keep your pets hydrated with cool water, too.
- Know the signs for heat-related illness and how to respond. If a person has heavy sweating, cold and clammy skin, a fast and weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, headaches, or is feeling faint, they likely have heat exhaustion. Move to a cool place, loosen clothes, put cool, wet cloths on your body, and sip water. Seek medical help if you are throwing up, your symptoms get worse, your symptoms last longer than an hour. If a person has a high body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, hot and red skin, a fast and strong pulse, confusion, or loses consciousness, they likely have heat stroke. Call 911 right away, move that person to a cooler place, and do not give them anything to drink.
For more information on heat related illness, visit the CDC’s website.
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Here’s important information in RFM’s Pet Stop for pet owners about taking care of animals during hot weather.