1. Heat kills by
pushing the human body beyond its limits. Under normal conditions, the
body's internal thermostat produces perspiration that evaporates and cools the
body. However, in extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed
and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal
2. Most heat
disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has
over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Other conditions
that can induce heat-related illnesses include stagnant atmospheric conditions
and poor air quality.
prolonged drought can have a serious economic impact on a community. Increased
demand for water and electricity may result in shortages of resources.
Moreover, food shortages may occur if agricultural production is damaged or
destroyed by a loss of crops or livestock.
All areas in the
United States are at risk of drought at any time of the year. Drought
gripped much of the West and Midwest from 1987 to 1991. The Missouri River Basin
and California have experienced extended periods of drought as well.
WHAT IS EXTREME
hover 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region and
last for several weeks are defined as extreme heat. Humid or muggy
conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a
"dome" of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the
ground. Excessively dry and hot conditions can provoke dust storms and low
visibility. Droughts occur when a long period passes without substantial
rainfall. A heat wave combined with a drought is a very dangerous situation.
DID YOU KNOW...
In a normal year,
approximately 175 Americans die from extreme heat. Young children, elderly
people, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to become victims.
Between 1936 and 1975, nearly 20,000 people succumbed to the effects of heat and
solar radiation. Because men sweat more than women, men are more susceptible to
heat illness because they become more quickly dehydrated. Sunburn can
significantly slow the skin's ability to release excess heat. People living in
urban areas may be at a greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave
than people living in rural regions. An increased health problem can occur when
stagnant atmospheric conditions trap pollutants in urban areas, thus adding
contaminated air to excessively hot temperatures.
Doing too much on
a hot day, spending too much time in the sun or staying too long in an
overheated place can cause heat-related illnesses. Know the symptoms of heat
disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
* Contact your
local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for information
on extreme heat.
* Install window
air conditioners snugly.
* Close any floor
heat registers nearby.
* Insulate spaces
around air conditioners for a tighter fit.
* Use a
circulating or box fan to spread the cool air.
* Keep heat
outside and cool air inside.
temporary reflectors, such as aluminum foil covered cardboard, to reflect any
heat back outside. Keep the cool air inside by weather-stripping
doors and windowsills.
keeping storm windows up all year.
* Storm windows
can keep the heat of a house in the summer the same way they keep the cold out
in the winter.
air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
windows. Hang shades, draperies, awnings, or louvers on windows that
receive morning or afternoon sun. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat
entering the house by as much as 80 percent.
electricity. During periods of extreme heat, people tend to use a
lot more power for air conditioning which can lead to a power shortage or
outage. Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not
available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Remember that electric
fans do not cool, they just blow hot air around.
well-balanced, light meals.
* Drink plenty of
water regularly. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver
disease; are on fluid-restrictive diets; or have a problem with fluid retention
should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
* Limit intake of
alcoholic beverages. Although beer and alcohol beverages appear to satisfy
thirst, they actually cause further body dehydration.
* Dress in
loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Lightweight,
light-colored clothing that reflects heat and sunlight and helps maintain normal
* Protect face
and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
* Allow your body
to get acclimated to hot temperatures for the first 2 or 3 days of a heat wave.
* Avoid too much
sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin's ability to cool itself. Use a
sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
* Avoid extreme
temperature changes. A cool shower immediately after coming in from hot
temperatures can result in hypothermia, particularly for elderly and very young
people. Slow down. Reduce, eliminate, or reschedule strenuous
activities. High-risk individuals should stay in cool places. Get
plenty of rest to allow your natural "cooling system" to work.
Take salt tablets only if specified by your physician.
* Persons on
salt-restrictive diets should check with a physician before increasing salt
intake. Vacuum air conditioner filters weekly during periods of high
use. Learn the symptoms of heat disorders and know how to give first aid.
DURING A DROUGHT
use. Watering the lawn and washing the car waste water.
Whenever possible, re-use water. Place a brick or other large, solid object in
the flush tank of the toilet to reduce the water used to flush. Farmers
should contact the county Farmers Home Administration Office for disaster
Skin redness and pain, possible swelling, blisters, fever, headaches.
First Aid: Take a
shower, using soap, to remove oils that may block pores preventing the body from
cooling naturally. If blisters
occur, apply dry, sterile dressings and get medical attention.
Painful spasms usually in leg and abdominal muscles. Heavy sweating.
Firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips
of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue.
Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Weak pulse.
Normal temperature possible. Fainting, vomiting.
Get victim to lie down in a cool place. Loosen clothing. Apply cool,
wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air-conditioned place. Give
sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue. If vomiting occurs,
seek immediate medical attention.
Heat Stroke (Sun
High body temperature (106+). Hot, dry skin. Rapid, strong pulse.
Possible unconsciousness. Victim will likely not sweat.
Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or emergency medical
services or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
Move victim to a cooler environment. Try a cool bath or sponging to reduce
body temperature. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing. Use fans and/or air conditioners. DO
NOT GIVE FLUIDS.
HEAT AND THE
THE HUMAN BODY!
Heat Index Chart
||Air Temperature (Degrees F)
|The Heat Index shows the effects of the combination of
heat and humidity. The apparent temperature is the heat your body thinks it is. To use the
chart locate the temperature along the top row and the humidity along the left hand
column. Where the two intersect is the current heat index. It's usually hotter than you