BUCKHANNON — As the weather begins to warm and with the 80th West Virginia Strawberry Festival right around the corner, it is very important to know how to prepare for high temperatures and what to do if heat strikes.
According to earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org, “Extreme heat or heat waves occur when the temperature reaches extremely high levels or when the combination of heat and humidity causes the air to become oppressive. Males are more affected than females. For temperatures inside a vehicle, if the outside temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit, within only 20 minutes, the temperature inside a vehicle will reach 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Within 40 minutes, the inside temperature of the car reaches 118 degrees Fahrenheit and within one hour, the temperature will reach as high as 123 degrees Fahrenheit.”
According to the United Health Services website, “Try to avoid or limit strenuous activity in hot or humid weather. Wear a hat and light-colored clothing throughout the summer months as sunlight is attracted to dark colors, such as black. Be aware of how your body reacts to intense sun and high temperatures, and plan accordingly. Also, limiting your food intake to small means and limiting the consumption of alcohol is something to consider as well.”
Stay hydrated! This cannot be stressed enough as it can be extremely dangerous not to have enough fluids in you. Drink extra water when you sweat, even if you are not thirsty. Continuously increase your fluid intake throughout the day.
If an adult is hot and thirsty, children probably are too. Healthychildren.org has some wonderful tips on how to properly protect your child(ren) in high temperature heat. Those tips include the following: Babies younger than 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight. Always dress your children in light-weight, loose, light-colored clothing. Limit the exposure to sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when Ultra Violet (UV) rays are at their strongest. Sunglasses can be used for UV protection to the eyes.
Use a sunscreen that is labelled as broad-spectrum. This means that it will screen out both UV-B and UV-A rays. Try to use the sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 up to SPF 50. Stores also provide the selection for adults and children who have sensitive skin, allowing for coverage of all skin types.
To apply: use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas of the skin, including the face. Reapply every two hours and after swimming, sweating or drying with a towel.
Other things to look for during his temperatures include the following:
Heat stroke: what to look for:
• High body temperature (103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
• Hot, red, dry or damp skin
• Fast, strong pulse
• Losing consciousness
Heat exhaustion: what to look for:
• Heavy sweating
• Cold, pale and clammy skin
• Fast, weak pulse
• Nausea or vomiting
• Muscle cramps
• Tiredness or weakness
• Fainting (passing out)
If you think you or someone you know might be experiencing heatstroke, call 911 immediately and do as follows until emergency medical services arrive:
• Move the person to a shady area
• Remove the person’s clothing
• Cover the person with a wet sheet and keep the sheet wet for cooling from evaporation
• Fan the person with paper or an electric fan
• Sponge down the body, especially the head
• Continue first aid until the rectal temperature drops to 101 degrees Fahrenheit OR the body feels cool to the Touch
• If the person is conscious, let them sip water, fruit juice, or a soft drink
You can visit Extreme Heat | Ready.gov for more information. Stay safe and enjoy the warm weather.