Severe heat, often combined with the high humidity in much of the state during the summer, can create serious health risks. The elderly, infants, and those with certain chronic illnesses, such as asthma, are particularly at risk, especially if air conditioning is not available. During periods of extreme heat, staying in an air-conditioned area is the most effective way to prevent heat-related illnesses. If air-conditioning is not available, pull the shades over the windows and use cross-ventilation and fans to cools rooms. Cold showers and baths are other effective ways to stay cool.
A drought, which is caused by long periods of minimal rainfall, can lead to well failures in homes not served by municipal water, and can limit the ability of municipal systems to provide water because of low river and reservoir levels or well failure. Droughts can also cause major problems in the agricultural community.
During an Emergency
Avoid heat-related illness:
- Never leave infants, children or pets inside a parked vehicle.
- Increase fluid intake, regardless of activity level. Don’t wait until thirsty to drink fluids; drink more liquid than one’s thirst indicates.
- Avoid "heat hangover." Continue to drink fluids even after strenuous activity. This will enable the body to maintain optimum hydration, and help prevent the after effects of heat exposure such as headaches and fatigue.
- Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar as they dehydrate the body.
- Avoid very cold beverages as they cause stomach cramps.
- Limit exercise or outdoor activity between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its peak intensity. If active during this time frame, drink a minimum of 16 to 32 ounces of water each hour. Some medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, may increase the risk of heat related illness. Consult your physician if you have questions.