Des Moines, IA – Dangerously hot weather is predicted for a large portion of central and western Iowa for Monday and Tuesday, and the American Red Cross reminds every one of the steps they should take to stay safe when the temperatures rise.
The National Weather Service has already issued Heat Advisories for 74 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Hot and humid conditions are expected throughout both days, and heat indices could reach the lower 100s in most areas. “Exposure to excessive heat and humidity poses special problems, especially for young children and the elderly,” said Leslie Schaffer, Regional Chapter Executive for the Iowa Region of the Red Cross. “There are steps people can take to stay safe and beat the heat.”
- Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
- Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
- Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Ensure they have water and a shady place to rest.
- Eat small meals and eat more often.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
HEAT CAN BE DANGEROUS Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. To help avoid problems, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and limit drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.
If a person is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if some shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.
The Red Cross also has steps pet owners should take to keep their furry friends safe during hot weather.
Red Cross training can give someone the skills and confidence to act in an emergency. For more information contact your local chapter or visit www.redcross.org/ia.