June 7, 2005
Charlotte, NC - Every summer in Charlotte-Mecklenburg you can expect to encounter two things - heat and humidity - both with potentially deadly dangers. Temperatures over 90 degrees pose a risk for people suffering from chronic illnesses and those not prepared for the hot weather. Many of those risk involve the elderly. But children, athletes and outdoor workers can also be affected.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department wants you to be prepared to avoid heat-related illnesses and emergencies. During extremely hot periods, follow these safety tips:
* Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day.
* Drink plenty of water and eat light, well-balanced meals.
* Avoid alcohol and soft drinks. They can actually rob your body of fluids.
* Wear light or loose fitting clothes.
* Stay indoors as much as possible. If you have no air conditioning, stay on the lowest floor out of the sun, or visit a public building with air conditioning.
* Do NOT leave children or disabled individuals in cars for even brief periods of time. Temperatures can rise to life threatening levels in a matter of minutes. This goes for pets as well as humans.
* Make frequent checks on the status of elderly or ill relatives or neighbors. If necessary, move them to an air conditioned environment during the hottest part of the day
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include fainting, rash, fatigue and nausea. Skin may become clammy and moist, or hot and dry. If heat related symptoms appear, immediate action should be taken to reduce body temperature. Cool showers, baths and sponge baths can reduce body temperatures.
Symptoms such as dizziness, weakness and fatigue are early warning signs of something much more serious and should not be ignored. Onset of heat stroke can be rapid and may progress to life threatening illness within minutes.
For more information about the Mecklenburg County Health Department, visit the Web site