Wisconsin Heat Awareness Day – June 5th

 

By Director of Health Services, Dorie Petitt

As Wisconsin enters the summer months, it is important for people to pay close attention to their health and well-being with increased temperatures. To encourage everyone to take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses or deaths, Gov. Tony Evers declared June 5th as Heat Awareness Day in Wisconsin.

Stay cool and hydrated during hot weather.

•   Older adults do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature or temperature extremes.

•   They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.

•   They are more likely to take prescription medicines that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.

Protect yourself and others when it’s hot outside by staying cool, hydrated and knowing the symptoms of heat illness.  Hot days can affect anyone but adults 65+ can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat. 

Stay cool.  If you are outside, especially for a prolonged period of time, stay in the shade as much as possible. Take breaks from activity frequently and do outdoor activities during the coolest part of the morning or evening whenever possible.  When indoors use fans when indoor temps are less than 90 degrees.    In temps higher than 90 degrees a fan can actually increase body temperature.  Use air conditioning or find a location that has air conditioning.  Be sure to check on your family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they have chronic medical conditions or live alone. 

Drink plenty of fluids and carry a water bottle.  Consider limiting beverages high in sugar, sodium, caffeine and alcohol in extreme heat.  Pay attention to the color of your urine.  When it is light yellow or clear, it usually means you are drinking enough water.  Drinking water on hot days will help to keep you hydrated regardless of how active you are in the heat. 

Protect your pets.  Watch the humidity.  Limit exercise on hot days. Provide ample shade and extra water.  Never leave your pet in a car.  Protect your pet’s paws from hot surfaces.

It is important to know the signs of heat related illness.  When your body gets too hot, you can get sick.  Knowing the symptoms of your body overheating will help you know when to get medical attention.

Common symptoms of overheating include:

•   Muscle cramping

•   Unusually heavy sweating

•   Shortness of Breath

•   Dizziness

•   Headache

•   Weakness

•   Nausea

If you develop any of these symptoms, seek medical attention.

Heat also causes the need to have a plan for medications.  Many medications can make you dehydrated or overheated on hot days.   Many medications need to be protected from extreme heat.  Don’t stop or change any medications without consulting your doctor.  Heat can cause power outages so it is important to have a plan for refrigerated medications and electronic medical devices. 

Information regarding heat and your health will be added to the Health Services page of Community Apps. 

Please contact Saint John’s Wellness Center with any questions.