A dangerous heat wave is moving into Pennsylvania, prompting the departments of Health and Aging Friday to recommend that residents follow simple steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from potentially deadly heat-related illnesses.
"Hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to make some parts of Pennsylvania feel like it is 105 degrees or more beginning this weekend – leading to a hazardous situation in which heat-related illnesses are likely," said Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy. "I urge everyone to take extra precautions to prevent heat-related emergencies. In extreme temperatures like these, healthy people of any age can have heat-related illnesses, but those at greatest risk are people over 65, infants and young children, and those with heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing problems, or other chronic medical conditions."
"In this high heat, we must be sure to check on neighbors, family, and friends over the age of 65 who may need assistance keeping cool," said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne. "Your local Area Agency on Aging can help with transporting older adults to cooler locations such as a local church or senior center."
All Pennsylvanians are urged to follow these safety tips to avoid heat-related illnesses:
-- Drink plenty of water and don't wait until you're thirsty to drink more fluids;
-- Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar, as they can cause dehydration (loss of body fluids);
-- Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible – this is the best way to protect against heat-related illness and death;
-- If you must be outside in the heat, limit activity to morning and evening hours, and try to rest often in shady areas;
-- Dress in light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses – and use a sunscreen of SPF15 or higher;
-- Check on those who might be more at risk from high temperatures like infants, children, or older individuals; and
-- Never leave your children or pets inside vehicles.
The most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. Warning signs include extreme body temperature, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, and confusion. If you or loved ones develop heat stroke symptoms, get medical assistance right away.
Heat exhaustion symptoms are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.
For more information, download the Department of Health’s Hot Weather Safety Tips fact sheet or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
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