Red Cross offers hot-weather safety tips as summer arrives

Press Staff Writer

        Summer arrived Saturday, June 20.
        The American Red Cross is offering steps for everyone to take to keep safe and healthy when the temperature soars.
        • 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.
        • Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
        • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
        • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors as they absorb the sun’s rays.
        • Slow down, stay indoors. Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
        • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
        • Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
        • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outdoors.
        Heat exhaustion
        Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 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 someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness or 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.
        Heat stroke
        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 immediately if someone 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.
        Don’t forget pets
        Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of shade and cool water.
        Animals can suffer heat stroke, a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Some of the signs of heat stroke in pets include:
        • Heavy panting and inability to calm down, even when lying down.
        • Brick red gum color.
        • Fast pulse rate.
        • Inability to get up.
        If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take its temperature rectally.
        If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees.
        Bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.
        Take the Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course. This course provides owners, pet-sitters and dog walkers with step-by-step instructions for what to do if a pet is choking, has a wound, needs CPR or other care (
        The Red Cross has several resources for people to learn how to treat heat emergencies including online and in-person training courses (, a free First Aid App and Pet First Aid App (www.redcrossorg/apps), and a First Aid Skill for Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.


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