Heat Wave Safety Tips

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There’s no doubt Las Vegas summers are HOT! Heat is one of the leading weather-related fatalities in the United States, sadly resulting in hundreds of heat related illnesses and deaths each year. Both are preventable by taking the proper steps to protect yourself and others during the summer months and the extreme heat waves that come with it. Wherever you are, follow these tips to help keep you safe.

When the warm weather strikes, our bodies are challenged in the ability to cool themselves. When the body heats too rapidly or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration and/or sweating, body temperature rises and you can experience things like heat cramps, exhaustion, or stroke. Death can occur when hyperthermia sets in-when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle (this can happen in mild temperatures-70). Never leave pets, older adults, and children unattended in the heat, especially in vehicles.

If you are planning to be outdoors, protect yourself and loved-ones. Avoid intentional tanning, seek shade if possible, and wear protective clothing such as hats, glasses, and light colored clothing. Sunscreen (recommended SPF50) should be applied generously 15 minutes before going outdoors then reapply every 2 hours. Children, the elderly and those with special needs may need special attention or be more sensitive to sun. Sometimes the indoors can pose a threat to these individuals as well. Be sure to check up on older folks who don’t have access to air conditioning. Staying hydrated is another important precaution to take during the hot, dry, summer months. If not, this could lead to hospitalizations.

This summer, plan ahead. Listen to local forecasts and weather changes where you live or where you plan to visit. Be aware of both the temperature and  heat index. The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, or sick.  They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help. Ensure that your animals’ needs for water and shade are met. Discuss heat safety precautions with your family. Have a plan for wherever you spend time— home, the outdoors, or vacationing.