California Department of Public Health Offers Important Tips for Avoiding Heat-Related Illnesses

Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm

With August temperatures in Northern California peaking in the 90s and even 100-degree range, the California Department of Public Health is urging all residents, including health professionals like Bay Area LVNs, to promote and practice cautionary measures during periods or extreme heat.

The state agency provides an extensive series of tips for pet owners, seniors and other residents, such as Sacramento LVNs, to help treat and combat the effects of high temperatures. Its “Be Prepared California” website recommends valuable heat-safety practices like:

1)    Remaining in cool indoor environments that, if possible, maintain colder temperatures through air conditioners. Public places like shopping malls, movie theaters or buildings like libraries may offer air conditioning if it is unavailable in your living or work space. Cold showers or baths may also provide relief from the strenuous heat.

2)    Avoid dehydration by drinking more amounts of fluids like water, sports drinks and juice. Liquids containing caffeine (black and green teas, caffeinated coffees and sodas) and alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) can actually deplete water from the body; the dangerous effects of water loss can increase significantly during hot weather.

3)    Wear loose-fitting fabrics that ventilate instead of trap heat. Even indoors, sleeveless shirts, shorts and clothing made of lightweight material can be especially welcoming on scorching days. Light-colored clothes may also be less likely to absorb heat and cause you to lose fluids through excess sweat.

4)    Limit outdoor activities like exercising, traveling or walking your dog to typically cooler times, such as early morning or evening. Remaining in the shade during such activities and wearing appropriate levels and amounts of sunscreen may also help reduce the amount of sun exposure and potential heat-related problems.
5)    Take time to check on people who may be susceptible to the effects of a heat wave, such as the elderly and young children. Pets should also be given access to cold fresh water and shady or cool areas on hot days.

6)    Seek immediate medical attention if you or someone around you demonstrates symptoms of heat exhaustion, severe sunburn or heat cramps. Signs may include: extremely red dry skin, dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating, confusion, vomiting and lack of coordination. Assistance from a trained professional, like a San Francisco LVN http://www.unitekcollege.edu/vocational-nursing-career-prospects, may help prevent heat-related illnesses from causing long-term serious damage.