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Red Cross: How to stay safe when the temperatures rise

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._ Hot and humid weather is predicted for Oklahoma in the upcoming days. The American Red Cross reminds people of the steps they should take to stay safe when the temperatures rise.

“With all of the summer activities starting to take place and flood victims still working on cleaning out their homes, we want to make sure that people take their heat precautions,” said Ken Garcia, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross. “These tips for heat safety should not be taken lightly as heat related illness can be deadly.”

HEAT SAFETY

  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Ensure they have water and a shady place to rest.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

You should also make sure that you protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.

HEAT CAN BE DANGEROUS Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. To help avoid problems, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and limit drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

If a person is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if some shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person's body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP People can also download the Red Cross First Aid App at redcross.org/apps to get access to life-saving information on what to do for common, everyday first aid emergencies.

The Red Cross also has steps pet owners should take to keep their furry friends safe during hot weather.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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