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Public Health Advisory - Prevent Heat Related Illness

Public Date: 7/17/2012 12:00 AM
Contact: Kathy Forzley, Health Officer/ Manager of the Oakland County Health Division
Phone Number: 248-858-1410

​Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County Health Division cautions residents to protect themselves from heat related illness such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Those at greatest risk include individuals 65 years of age or older, overweight people, those who exert themselves during work or exercise, infants and children up to age four and people who are ill or on certain medications.

"The best way to prevent heat illnesses is to spend time in air conditioned buildings. It is extremely important that high risk people such as the elderly follow precautions," states Kathy Forzley, Manager/Health Officer of Oakland County Health Division.
 
Follow these prevention tips:
  • Monitor high risk-people for signs of heat related illness. Visit older neighbors and family members at least twice a day to make sure they are safe. Watch for signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
  • Limit vigorous activity during hot, humid weather. Stay indoors and exercise in air conditioned areas such as malls. 
  • Don't leave infants, pets or elderly people in parked cars.
  • Drink plenty of water. Drink more than you need to satisfy your thirst. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. If exercising, drink two to four cups of water every hour. Limit drinks that can cause dehydration such as coffee and soda.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher.

If you must go outside, try to do so either in the morning or in the evening.  While outside, take breaks often and find air-conditioned places or shady areas where you can rest.  This will give your body a chance to recover.  Individuals who choose to engage in outdoor activities need to drink plenty of water and take the precautions listed above to reduce the risk of heat illness.
 
Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is a life threatening situation. During heat stroke, the body loses its ability to regulate temperature in extreme heat, high humidity or during vigorous activity. Symptoms vary, but usually include red, flushed skin, a rapid strong pulse, throbbing headache, nausea, seizures, difficulty speaking, confusion and unconsciousness. If you think someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 and attempt to lower their body temperature by helping them get to a shaded area and by cooling their skin.
 
Contact your municipality for a list of cooling centers or Nurse on Call for more information at 1-800-848-5533. For more information, visit www.oakgov.com/health.
 
For media inquiries only, contact Kathy Forzley, Health Officer/ Manager of the Oakland County Health Division at 248-858-1410.