NH DHHS Reminds Residents to Take Precautions in Extreme Heat

With prolonged heat and humidity expected throughout the state in the coming days, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reminds people to keep cool to avoid heat-related illness.

practice heat safety“People should take precautions to prevent heat-related illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke when temperatures are high,” said Leigh Cheney, Director of the DHHS Emergency Services Unit. “Seniors, young children and those with chronic health conditions are especially vulnerable to heat exposure. We urge people to watch for signs of heat-related illness, and know where they can find relief from the heat in their communities.”

Residents seeking information on cooling-related resources in towns and cities throughout New Hampshire are encouraged to call 2-1-1.

The following tips can help prevent heat-related illness:

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and take regular breaks from physical activity.
  • Wear sunscreen and loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help keep cool.
  • Never leave children, seniors, pets, or people with health conditions in a parked vehicle, even briefly. Temperatures can become dangerous within a few minutes.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially seniors and people with a chronic illness, to see if they need assistance.
  • Use air conditioning to cool down. People who do not have an air conditioner can go to an air-conditioned public building, such as a public library or shopping mall, for a few hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. Water is best. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.
  • Be aware that some medicines affect the body's ability to sweat and stay cool. Do NOT stop taking medication unless instructed to do so by your healthcare provider.

When the body is unable to cool itself sufficiently by sweating, heat exhaustion can result. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; fatigue. If you are experiencing heat exhaustion, drink cool beverages, seek air conditioning, rest, and remove heavy clothing. If left untreated, heat stroke can result.

Heat stroke is life-threatening. Symptoms of heat stroke include red skin that is hot to the touch; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. The body temperature may rise dramatically, and the skin may feel dry. Move someone experiencing heat stroke to a cool place and seek emergency medical assistance.

For more information on resources available in your community, call 2-1-1. For more information on excessive heat, view the Excessive Heat Factsheet. For more information on heat-related illnesses, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For updates on weather conditions, visit the National Weather Service.



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