INDIANAPOLIS — With dangerous heat and humidity in Indiana’s forecast this weekend, state health officials are offering tips to help keep Hoosiers safe amid the rising temperatures.
“These hot conditions can be a dangerous time for Hoosiers,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, MD, MPH. “If you’re going to be outdoors, stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade as often as possible. It’s also important to check on children and the elderly, and even your pets.”
When temperatures reach 90 degrees, Fahrenheit, or greater, people can suffer heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion or heat cramps. Young children and the elderly, as well as people with chronic medical conditions, are especially vulnerable.
Heat cramps are muscular pains in the abdomen, legs and arms that occur from strenuous activity and increased sweating. They can also be a sign of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can develop after several days of high temperatures and low fluid intake. Other symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
If you experience heat cramps or heat exhaustion, move into an air-conditioned room and rest. Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic beverages. Taking a cool shower or bath can also help.
Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke or hyperthermia, is a life-threatening situation in which the body is unable to regulate its temperature and cannot cool itself down. Body temperature may rise rapidly and can reach 106 degrees. Other signs of heat stroke include:
- Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If you see someone in heat stroke, begin cooling the person down by taking them into a cool or shady place and putting them into cool water, or spraying them with cool water. Call 911 immediately.
To avoid these and other heat-related health problems, the Indiana State Department of Health recommends the following:
- Drink plenty of cool water.
- Avoid prolonged exposure outdoors during high temperatures.
- If you do not have air conditioning, go to a public location that is air-conditioned for a few hours. This can help your body maintain appropriate temperatures.
- Take cool baths or showers.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
- Slow your normal pace.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Draw shades, blinds and curtains in rooms exposed to direct sunlight.