Saturday September 21, 2019
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Use Caution In Dealing With Extreme Heat In Louisville

With a heat index forecast to be between 100 and 105 Thursday and Friday, Louisville Metro Government officials are urging residents to stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed.

Extremely high or unusually hot temperatures can affect your health. Most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and those with chronic medical conditions.

In these conditions, the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness advises residents to:

Stay cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings, including shopping malls, the Louisville Free Public libraries, and Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation’s 13 community centers, where children and teens can also get a meal through Dare to Care.
  • Metro Parks announced today that because of the extreme heat, it is reducing pool admission costs by $1 through the end of the season, making admission $1 for children and $2 for adults. Parks also is reviewing the possibility of keeping one pool open past the end of the season, if the extreme heat persists.
  • The Coalition for the Homeless coordinates Operation White Flag when the temperature or heat index is 95 or higher. Five shelters – St. Vincent de Paul (1034 S. Jackson St.; Salvation Army Center of Hope (911 S. Brook St.); Jefferson Street Baptist Center (733 E. Jefferson St.); St. John Center (700 E. Muhammad Ali); and Wayside Christian Mission (432 E. Jefferson St.) – allow homeless people to remain inside during White Flag events.  Anyone who needs a bed or place to sleep for tonight can also call the bed reservation line at (502) 637-2337, between the hours of 10 a.m. -2 p.m. The beds fill up quickly, so call early.
  • Connect with Metro United Way’s 2-1-1 information and referral service to locate an air-conditioned option in your area. Call 2-1-1, visit metrounitedway.org or text your ZIP code to 898211 (TXT211).
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.
  • Stay informed
  • Check your local news for extreme heat warnings and safety tips.
  • Keep your friends, family and neighbors aware of weather and heat safety information.
  • Remember that even short periods of high temperature can cause serious health problems. Doing too much on a hot day, spending too much time in the sun, or staying too long in an overheated place can cause heat related illnesses.  Louisville health officials encourage residents to know the symptoms of heat disorders and overexposure to the sun, and be ready to give first aid treatment.
  • Watch for warning signs, symptoms for heat-related disorders

Heat Stroke

  • Heat Stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature.  The body’s temperature rises rapidly and the body is unable to cool down.  Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees within 10minutes.  Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. The warning signs of heat stroke may include:
    • Extreme body temperature of 103 or higher
    • Red, hot, and dry skin with no sweating
    • Rapid, strong pulse
    • Throbbing headache
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Confusion
    • Unconsciousness
    • If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency.  Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim.  Do the following:
    • Sometimes a victim’s muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke.  If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in his mouth and do not give fluids.  If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his side.
    • Seek medical assistance as soon as possible
    • Do not give the victim fluids to drink
    • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room and ask further instructions
    • Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops below 102
    • Cool the victim rapidly using whatever method you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of water or place him in a cool shower or spray him with a garden hose.
    • Get the victim to a shady area

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.  It is the body’s response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat.  Those most prone to this are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment.

Recognizing Heat Exhaustion

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, headache, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, fainting, tiredness or weakness.  The skin may be cool and moist.  The victim’s pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow.  If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke.  Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms are severe or if the victim has heart problems or high blood pressure.  Otherwise, help the victim cool off and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.

Louisville’s Urban Heat Island contributes to the extreme warm temperatures. Go here to learn more, and share how you are helping to reduce Louisville’s Urban Heat at #cool502.

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