How to stay safe, healthy as heat wave hits
SALEM, Ore. – Oregon health officials are recommending people prevent heat-related illnesses that can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke as summer temperatures climb into at least the mid-90s in the coming days.
“We love our Oregon summers and the warm temperatures they bring, but people need to take precautions when temperatures get to the level where they can cause health problems,” said Tom Jeanne, MD, deputy state health officer at the OHA Public Health Division. “Extreme heat conditions can even be deadly for some people.”
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to reach the mid- to upper 90s Thursday in the Portland metro area and Central Oregon, and above 100 in parts of Eastern and Southern Oregon.
The Oregon Public Health Division offers the following tips for staying safe and healthy during extreme heat conditions:
1. Stay cool
- Stay in air-conditioned places when temperatures are high, if possible.
- Limit exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest. Try to schedule activities in the morning and evening.
- Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate, especially during morning and evening hours, and close shades on west-facing windows during the afternoon hours.
- Use portable electric fans to exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and protect your skin from the sun.
- Use cool compresses, misting, and cool showers and baths.
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals; they add heat to the body.
- Never leave infants or children in a parked car. Nor should pets be left in parked cars—they can suffer heat-related illness, too.
- Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 when going outside.
2. Stay hydrated
- Regardless of your level of activity, drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty and especially when working outside.
- Avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar.
3. Stay informed
- Keep up-to-date on the temperature and heat index when planning your activities so you can find ways to stay cool and hydrated. The heat index measures how hot it feels outside when factoring in humidity with the actual air temperature.
- Learn how to prevent, recognize, and treat heat-related illnesses. Know the warning signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash, and how to treat and prevent them.
People with a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or kidney disease may be less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Also, they may be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat. People in this category should be closely monitored to make sure they’re drinking enough water, have access to air conditioning and know how to keep cool.
Those who exercise in extreme heat or work outdoors are more likely to become dehydrated and get heat-related illness and should pay particular attention to staying as cool and hydrated as possible.
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