Heat Safety

A heat wave swept through the area with temperatures skyrocketing into the 90s and a heat index hovering above 100 degrees. The hot, humid weather had Centennial Beach packed.

“You really can’t do anything else but go in the pool cause it’s just so hot,” said one swimmer.

A dip in the water is one way to stay cool, but it’s also important to keep hydrated throughout the day.

“You want to use the sports drinks that have all the salts that hydrate you,” said Dr. Tom Scaletta, Edward Hospital’s ER Medical Director. “And you want to avoid alcohol and caffeine which are the diuretics, which mean they’ll make you lose fluids pretty readily.”

Lack of fluids plus extreme heat can cause profuse sweating; pale, clammy skin, and weakness.

Treated soon, the body’s temperature can climb to more than 106 degrees, which can lead to disorientation, unconsciousness, and even death.

“They could have heat stroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, fatigue or it could be indirect meaning that they’re fragile people with medical problems or they’re at extremes of age that just have more difficulty when its that hot out,” said Dr. Scaletta.

If someone is showing symptoms, it’s best to move them under shade, give them water if conscious, loosen tight clothing, and apply a wet towel to their skin.

Should symptoms appear more severe, like vomiting or unconsciousness, call 9-1-1.

It’s not just people that can suffer heat stroke. Our pets need to take precautions too.

“It’s really important we minimize the time that they’re outside. Keep them to short walks so they do their business and then in,” said Angie Wood, Executive Director for the Naperville Area Humane Society. “If you are going to be outside, make sure they have plenty to drink and you’re constantly monitoring them for heat exhaustion.

And your can be a danger too. Never leave kids and pets in them, even if only for a short while. In just ten minutes, the temperature inside a vehicle can jump from 80 degrees to more than a 100 degrees.

Not even 10 minutes later, the temperature inside my car rose nearly 30 degrees, making it deadly for children and pets.

“The car becomes more or less like an oven. If it’s in the sun, it’s going to bake, literally. Pets and kids are going to be able to protect themselves,” said Dr. Scaletta.

If you do see them left behind in a vehicle, don’t be afraid to call 9-1-1 ASAP. It could save a life.

The American Red Cross has a free first-aid app, which includes information for dealing with the heat, available for android and iPhone users.

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