The National Weather Service Milwaukee has issued a Heat Advisory for south and southeast Wisconsin for Tuesday, August 27, until 8pm. Temperatures in the low 90s, combined with high humidity, will result in a heat index of 100-105 degrees.
Prolonged exposure in this heat can be dangerous, and literally deadly, if the proper precautions are not taken. Possibility of illness increases the longer the elevated heat index lasts. Children, the elderly, and those with medical conditions are particularly susceptible.
To be safe, following these recommendations from FEMA and local emergency agencies:
- Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible and limit your exposure to the sun.
- If you don’t have air conditioning, stay on the lowest floor of your house, out of the sunshine (basements are a great cool location).
- Again, if no air conditioning, spending the warmest part of the day in a public building such as a library, shopping mall, or local cooling facility.
- Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Don’t use salt tablets or other supplements unless directed to do so by your doctor.
- Drink plenty of water; a minimum of 6-8 glasses of cool water per day. Limit your intake of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages; these will actually dehydrate you.
- Take cool showers, baths, or sponge baths to reduce body temperature and cool off.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
If you have to be outside
- Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
- Wear a wide hat to protect the head and face, and sunglasses.
- Rest as often as possible in shady areas so that your body's thermostat will have a chance to recover.
- Sunburn prevents your body from cooling itself properly and causes a loss of body fluids. Use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher; apply 30 minutes prior to going outside and reapply it according to the package directions.
- If you are not accustomed to working or exercising in the high heat and humidity, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually.
- During exercise drink 2-4 glasses of cool fluid per hour. Consider a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade, which will replace electrolytes you sweat away.
- Try to exercise (especially strenuous exercise) in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler.
- If your heart starts to pound and you start gasping for breath, STOP all activity immediately. Get into a cool area or at least into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
- If working or working out outdoors, buddy-up with a coworker / training partner. You watch over them, and they watch over you.
Watch over high risk groups
- Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and can’t get drinks for themselves.
- Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles; even with the windows cracked, the internal temperatures can reach deadly levels quickly.
- People 65 years of age or older often do not compensate for heat stress efficiently, and are less likely to sense and respond to change in temperature.
- Those overweight tend to retain more body heat, so are more prone to heat sickness.
- People who are ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, may be affected more by extreme heat.
- Likewise, those who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation, can be more prone to heat illnesses.
Take care and look out for one another.
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