May 26, 2021
May 28, 2021 is National Heat Awareness Day.
OSHA and the National Weather Service team up every year at the end of May to encourage people recognize the warning signs for heat illness to keep safe.
This blog is a combination of info from the OSHA, The National Weather Service and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help prepare you for excessive heat events, describe what to do during a an excessive heat wave, and inform you about the health dangers of heat. You also will find educational materials and fun games and activities to help educate children about the dangers of heat. Spanish language outreach materials are also available.
According to The Impacts Of Climate Change On Human Health In The United States: A Scientific Assessment the following groups are particularly vulnerable to heat; check in with friends and relatives who fall in one of these populations, especially if they don’t have air conditioning.
• People with chronic medical conditions are more likely to have a serious health problem, episode or flare during a heat wave or excessive heat.
• Older adults, particularly those with pre existing conditions, taking certain medications, are living alone or with limited mobility who are exposed to extreme heat can experience multiple adverse effects.
• Young children and infants are very vulnerable to heat-related illness and death, as their bodies are less able to adapt to excessive heat.
• Pregnant women are at risk of harming themselves and their unborn baby. Excessive heat has been associated with adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth and infant mortality.
It is NEVER safe to leave a child, elderly or disabled persons or pets locked in a car, even in the winter. If you have a toddler in your household, lock your cars, even in your own driveway. Kids play in cars or wander outside and get into a car and can die in 10 minutes! A reported 24 children died in hot cars in 2020 and 1 toddler already has died in April 2021.
NWS Safety information on Children, Pets and Vehicles: Find out more about how cars can heat up quickly when left in the sun. Information and resources in both English and Spanish from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
During extremely hot and humid weather, your body's ability to cool itself is challenged. When the body heats too rapidly to cool itself properly, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises and you or someone you care about may experience a heat-related illness. It is important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness, and recommended first aid steps. Some of these symptoms and steps are listed below.
Heat cramps may be the first sign of heat-related illness, and may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Symptoms: Painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen and Heavy sweating.
- First Aid: Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water unless the person complains of nausea, then stop giving water.
Seek immediate medical attention if cramps last longer than 1 hour.
- Symptoms: Heavy sweating, Weakness or tiredness, cool, pale, clammy skin; fast, weak pulse, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, headache, fainting,
- First Aid: Move person to a cooler environment, preferably a well air conditioned room. Loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths or have person sit in a cool bath. Offer sips of water. Seek immediate medical attention if the person vomits, symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour
- Symptoms: Throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, body temperature above 103°F, hot, red, dry or damp skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting, loss of consciousness.
- First Aid: Call 911 or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Delay can be fatal. Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment. Reduce body temperature with cool cloths or bath. Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s. A fan can make you hotter at higher temperatures. Do NOT give fluids.
Using a fan to blow air in someone’s direction may actually make them hotter if heat index temperatures are above the 90s. For more information on all of these heat related illnesses, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site.
ThermApparel is a small business making big waves in the heat sensitivity world by designing the first lightweight, comfortable and invisible cooling vest, UnderCool. Check us out online, on our blog, or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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