The Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department EMS (also serving Teterboro) offers these suggestions regarding summer heat:
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
The best defense is prevention. You can follow these prevention tips to protect yourself from heat-related stress:
Drink cool, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated, low sugar beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot). Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.
Wear lightweight clothing.
Take a cool shower or bath, or move to an air-conditioned place. (If you dont have air conditioning, consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping mall or public library to cool off).
Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
Avoid hot foods and heavy meals as they add heat to your body.
Do not engage in strenuous activities.
Check regularly on: infants and young children, people 65 or older, people with mental illness and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
If you must be out in the heat:
Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.
Try to rest often in shady areas.
Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels).
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
People 65 years and older are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:
Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.
They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that upsets normal body responses to heat.
They are more likely to take
prescription medicines that impair the bodys ability to regulate its temperature or
that inhibit perspiration.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the bodys temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down.
Body temperatures rise to 106 ° F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Warning signs vary but may include the following: An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, etc.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.
Warning signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting, skin may be cool and moist; pulse rate: fast and weak; breathing: fast and shallow.
Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the bodys salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasmsusually in the abdomen, arms, or legsthat may occur in association with strenuous activity. If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet, get medical attention for heat cramps.
Sunburn should be avoided because it damages the skin. Although the discomfort is usually minor and healing often occurs in about a week, a more severe sunburn may require medical attention.
Symptoms of sunburn are well known: the skin becomes red, painful, and abnormally warm after sun exposure.
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children.
Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.
Heat Stress First Aid
If you see any signs of severe heat stress, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the affected person. Do the following:
Get the person to a shady area.
Cool the person rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the person in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the person with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the person in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101°102°F.
Do not give the person alcohol to drink.
Sometimes a victims muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.
If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
Sunburn First Aid
Avoid repeated sun exposure. Apply cold compresses or immerse the sunburned area in cool water. Apply moisturizing lotion to affected areas. Do not use salve, butter or ointment. Do not break blisters.
Heat Rash First Aid
Keep the affected area dry. Dusting powder may be
used to increase comfort but avoid using ointments or creams as they keep the skin warm
and moist and may make the condition worse.