Provided by Jennifer S. Sexton
Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County
The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County reminds residents and visitors to be aware of the warning signs of heat exhaustion and to protect against dehydration.
Heat exhaustion can develop after exposure to high temperatures and dehydration from not drinking enough fluids or replacing fluids that contain salt after sweating. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are older adults, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment. If you work outdoors, it is critical you remain aware of the heat index and take appropriate precautions to stay healthy and safe.
The Florida Department of Health recommends the following tips to avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration. Remember, the best defense against heat-related illness is prevention.
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water when outdoors, especially in the summer heat. Be mindful of the signs of dehydration, which include dry mouth, dizziness, lack of sweating, dry skin, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat and fatigue. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of cool, non-alcoholic fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Dress for summer: Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment or remain indoors in the heat of the day.
Never leave anyone in a parked car, including pets: Even in cooler weather or in the shade, the temperature in a parked car can become dangerously high. During hot weather, the temperature can rise to 135 degrees Fahrenheit (135°F) in less than 10 minutes, which can be fatal for children or pets. If you see a child or pet left unattended in a parked car, call 9-1-1 and alert authorities. “Even the most loving, responsible parents and caregivers can unknowingly leave a sleeping child or pet in a car; which can very quickly result in injury or death,” said Joe Pepe, Interim Administrator for the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County.
“In 2019, we have already had 8 child deaths in the U.S. related to heatstroke from children left in cars. These tragedies are preventable.” Pepe recommends that all caregivers develop a “look before you lock” routine, and that everyone be an active bystander by watching out for children and pets left in cars.
Warnings signs for heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin, fast, weak pulse, nausea or vomiting and fainting. If you experience any of the following, move to a cooler location, lie down and loosen tight clothing, sip water and apply cool, wet cloths to body. If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately.
For more information about the Florida Department of Health, visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.