High temperatures combined with high humidity can be a dangerous combination, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
“The body normally cools itself by sweating. When humidity is high, sweat doesn’t evaporate as fast. That prevents the body from releasing heat, causing its temperature control system to overload,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, chief medical officer and director of the Division of Public Health for DHHS.
The risk for heat-related illness and death is higher for infants and the elderly, whose internal thermostats do not regulate body temperature well. People with chronic medical conditions, outdoor workers and people who exercise outside are also at increased risk. Stay cool and avoid heat-related illness by following these tips:
-Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink
-Avoid alcohol and limit drinks with caffeine
-Wear loose, light-colored clothing and sunscreen
-Never leave children or pets in a parked vehicle
-If your pet spends its days outside, make sure it has plenty of fresh water and shade
-If outdoors, slow your pace and take frequent rest breaks
-Don’t get too much sun as sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat
Try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. If you don’t have air-conditioning, go to a library or another public building where you can cool off. Check on elderly friends and neighbors. Make sure they’re staying cool and hydrated.
Heat exhaustion can develop following exposure for several days to high temperatures. Symptoms include rapid heartbeat, cold, pale, clammy skin, nausea, dizziness, weakness and fatigue.
Heatstroke, the most serious heat-related illness, is a medical emergency characterized by a body temperature of 103 degrees or greater. Symptoms include hot, red skin, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, disorientation, delirium and coma.
Anyone suffering from these conditions should be moved into the shade or air-conditioning. If heatstroke or serious heat exhaustion is suspected, get emergency medical assistance.