-- — Temperatures over the next few days are expected to rise into the upper nineties and triple digits. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is reminding Hoosiers that overexposure to summer heat can be hazardous, reports Emily Norcross, IDHS public information officer.
According to the National Weather Service, heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States, causing more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes.
IDHS offers tips to stay safe with rising temperatures:
• Stay out of the heat as much as possible, preferably in an air conditioned environment;
• Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcoholic or carbonated beverages;
• Slow down from your normal pace;
• Spend time in air conditioning, even for brief periods;
• Draw shades, blinds and curtains in rooms exposed to direct sunlight;
• Cool down with cool baths or showers;
• Wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing;
• Wear proper SPF sunscreen for your skin type when outside;
• Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays;
• Avoid prolonged exposure to high temperatures;
• Never leave animals, children or the elderly inside a vehicle, even if it is only being left for a minute and the windows are rolled down; and
• Avoid leaving animals outside, but if you must, provide adequate shade and lots of water.
The elderly, very young and those with respiratory conditions are most susceptible to serious heat related illnesses. When appropriate, check in regularly with family members and neighbors who may not have air conditioning.
If air conditioning is not available at home, Hoosiers should try to spend some time each day in an air conditioned public facility, such as a library, shopping center, community center or theatre. “Even a few hours spent in the cool air can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat,” Norcross adds.
Heat related illnesses can happen quickly and be deadly. Be aware of the symptoms and how to help someone suffering from these illnesses. Symptoms include muscle cramps, body temperature over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, flushed looking appearance, nausea and vomiting, weakness, fatigue, faint feeling, diarrhea, headache and unresponsiveness or seizures.
Someone suffering from heat related illness should be moved to a cool place to rest and drink water or a sports drink (nothing carbonated). Cool, wet washcloths or icepacks will help with recovery. If there is no improvement, the body temperature won’t go down or the person won’t take fluids, go to the emergency room immediately or call 911.
For more information, persons can visit GetPrepared.in.gov.