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Some of our planet's hottest years have been in recent history and

now extreme heat events are happening more frequently.



  • Hydrate by drinking cool water. Drink a beverage with

       electrolytes during exercise or physical exertion.  Avoid drinking

       alcohol, as alcohol is dehydrating.

  • Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15, 30

       minutes prior to going in the sun.  Reapply after swimming/

       sweating. Wear a hat to protect your scalp.

  • Protect your eyes with UV blocking sunglasses.
    Take breaks if working outside and try to avoid being in the

       sun when the sun angle is the strongest (10am-4pm).

  • Wear light-weight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing

  • Bring pets indoors to a cooler environment, preferably with


  • Know your risk.  People are high risk of heat-related illnesses

       include:  Elderly, young children, pregnant women, and people

       who have respiratory, heart or other illnesses.


  • HEAT CRAMPS:  Symptoms include muscle spasms or pains. 
    First aid: Stop activity and sit in a cool, quiet place. Drink water, juice or a sports drink. Seek medical attention if heat cramps do not subside within one hour.


  • HEAT RASH: Symptoms may include clusters of red pimples or small blisters. The rash is most likely on the neck, upper chest, under breasts, groin and in elbow creases.

       First Aid:  Seek a cool, less humid environment, such as indoors with air conditioning. Apply                     dusting powder to the area if available. 

  • HEAT EXHAUSTION: Symptoms include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, clammy/pale skin, weakness, rapid pulse, headache, nausea or vomiting, and/or dizziness/fainting.                          First aid:  Try to cool the victim by offering water or juice and bring the victim into air conditioning if possible. Help the victim lie down and elevate feet.  Loosen any tight clothing.  A cold washcloth/ice pack and rest may also help.  Seek medical help if vomiting occurs or symptoms worsen.


  • HEAT STROKE:  Symptoms include high fever (103°F or greater), hot red dry skin, rapid pulse, dizziness, throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, and/or possible seizure or unconsciousness.

       First aid:  The person is in DANGER.  CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY.  While waiting for EMS, help move             victim to a cool, shady area. Cool the person by applying cool water to the skin and fan the person         to help lower the body temperature.  Monitor the victim's body temperature and continue cooling           measures until either EMS arrives or the temperature drops below 102°F.

Cheryl Nelson travels to South Africa
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