#parent | #kids | Dangerous Heat: Red Cross safety tips for before, during and after a heat wave | Community

MANCHESTER —Record heat is expected in as many as 20 states through the weekend with temperatures rising as much as 30 degrees above normal. In New Hampshire, the National Weather Service is expecting heat indexes as high as 100. The American Red Cross is urging everyone to stay cool and stay safe. “Extreme heat is the most dangerous type of severe-weather event in the U.S., but knowing how to spot the warning signs of heat stress and preparing our communities for extreme heat, can help save lives,” said Stephanie Couturier, CEO, American Red Cross of Northern New England. WHO’S AT RISK? Some people are at greater risk of developing a heat-related illness, including adults age 65 and older, those with chronic medical conditions, people who work outside, infants, children and athletes. Additionally, some medications may worsen the effects of extreme heat. People with heart disease, poor blood circulation, obesity and mental illness have an elevated risk of getting sick when the temperatures soar.


1. Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave infants, children, older adults, individuals with disabilities or pets in a vehicle unattended. Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous levels, even with a window cracked open.

2. Stay hydrated. An average person needs to drink about three-quarters of a gallon of fluid daily. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

3. Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

4. If you don’t have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.

5. Avoid extreme temperature changes.

6. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
7. Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

8. Postpone outdoor games and activities.

9. Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.

10. Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade. See more pet heat safety information here. Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with four ounces of cool water every 15 minutes.

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness and exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 911.

Heat stroke usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 911 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice. DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross “Emergency” app can help keep you and your loved ones safe with more than 35 customizable severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid app provides instant access to information on handling the most common first aid scenarios, including heat emergencies. Download these free apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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