We’re barely into summer and already heat advisories are being issued in Iowa for the second day in a row. Many communities statewide are seeing triple-digit heat indices.
BeLinda DeBolt, administrator of the Page County Public Health Department, says we need to be on-guard for heat-related illnesses. DeBolt says to drink cool, non-non-alcoholic beverages, increase fluid intake, wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, replace salt and minerals and schedule outdoor activities very carefully. Pace yourself, if you do have to be outside.
DeBolt says be aware of heat exhaustion symptoms which include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and fainting.
She says to stay cool indoors, if at all possible. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, there are other places to seek refuge from the heat, like a shopping mall. Also, wear sunscreen and reapply according to manufacturer’s directions. DeBolt says a sunburn could hurt you more as your body won’t be able to handle the heat.
DeBolt says we need to keep a sharp eye out for problems with ourselves and the people around us. "If you do have to be outside and working, use the buddy system," she says. "Monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you."
If someone seems confused or if they lose consciousness, call for help right away. Heat exhaustion treatment includes: rest, a cool shower, bath or sponge bath, an air-conditioned environment, then lightweight clothing. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke.
For a homemade air conditioning system, she suggests you sit in the path of a box fan that is aimed at an open cooler or a pan filled with ice.