Jackson County health officials issue heat stroke warning

MEDFORD, Ore. – With triple-digit temperatures expected in the Rogue Valley this week, local health experts are warning the public about the possibility of heat stroke.

“Many people can be at risk for heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion during long periods of extreme heat,” said Health Officer for Jackson County Dr. Leona O’Keefe. “Everyone should know how to prevent, spot, and give first aid for heat-related illnesses.”

Oregon health experts issued the following tips to avoid trouble during extreme heat conditions:

Stay cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned places when temperatures are high, if possible.
  • Limit exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest. Try to schedule activities in the morning and evening.
  • Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate, especially during morning and evening hours, and close shades on west-facing windows during the afternoon hours.
  • Use portable electric fans to remove hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and protect your skin from the sun.
  • Use cool compresses, misting, and cool showers and baths.
  • Avoid hot foods and heavy meals; they add heat to the body.
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car. Nor should pets be left in parked cars–they can suffer heat-related illness, too.
  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 when going outside.

Stay hydrated

  • Regardless of your level of activity, drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty and especially when working outside.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar.

Stay informed

  • Keep up-to-date on the temperature and heat index when planning your activities so you can find ways to stay cool and hydrated. The heat index measures how hot it feels outside when factoring in humidity with the actual air temperature.
  • Learn how to prevent, recognize, and treat heat-related illnesses. Know the warning signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash, and how to treat and prevent them.
  • People with a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or kidney disease may be less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Also, they may be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat. People in this category should be closely monitored to make sure they’re drinking enough water, have access to air conditioning and know how to keep cool.
  • Those who exercise in extreme heat or work outdoors are more likely to become dehydrated and get heat-related illness, and should pay particular attention to staying as cool and hydrated as possible.
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