Prevent Heat Related Illness

Oakland County Health Division cautions residents to protect themselves from heat-related illness such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, especially when temperatures are high, in the 90’s and during ozone action days. Those at greatest risk include individuals 65 years of age or older, those who exert themselves during work or exercise, infants and children up to age four, overweight people, and those who are ill or on certain medications. If you have asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema, high ozone levels can make your symptoms worse. Read more about ozone and health at www.cdc.gov/air/ozone

Watch for Ozone Action Days

Watch for Ozone Action Days

Follow these tips to prevent heat-related illness:

  • Monitor high-risk people for signs of heat related illness. Visit older neighbors and family members at least twice a day to make sure they are safe. Watch for signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Select the link to learn the warning signs for heat-related illness www.cdc.gov/extremeheat
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing
  • Limit vigorous activity during hot, humid weather. Stay indoors and exercise in air conditioned areas such as malls
  • Do not leave infants, pets, or elderly people in parked cars
  • Drink plenty of water. Drink more than you need to satisfy your thirst. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. If exercising, drink two to four cups of water every hour
  • Limit drinks that can cause dehydration such as coffee and soda
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher

If you must go outside, try to do so either in the morning or evening. While outside, take breaks often and find air-conditioned places or shady areas where you can rest. This will give your body a chance to recover. Individuals who choose to engage in outdoor activities need to drink plenty of water and take the precautions listed above to reduce the risk of heat-related illness.

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness and is a life threatening situation. During heat stroke, the body loses its ability to regulate temperature in extreme heat, high humidity or during vigorous activity. Symptoms vary, but usually include red, flushed skin, a rapid strong pulse, throbbing headache, nausea, seizures, difficulty speaking, confusion, and unconsciousness. If you think someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 and attempt to lower their body temperature by helping them get to a shaded area and by cooling their skin.

Contact your local municipality for a list of cooling centers that may be available in your area. For more information on heat safety, call Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533 or visit www.oakgov.com/health.

On Ozone Action Days, people are asked to take certain actions that can help reduce the formation of ozone and keep it at levels that meet the national air quality standard. Check out ways to “Keep the Air Clean” at http://semcog.org

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