Ways to stay healthy in the heat and humidity - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Ways to stay healthy in the heat and humidity

MADISON (WKOW) -- With temperatures and humidity rising, state health officials want to remind you to stay safe while you're out and about this week.

"Sustained temperatures above 90 degrees pose a risk of heat-related illness and death, especially when humidity levels exceed 35 percent," said Dr. Seth Foldy, State Health Officer. "The risk is highest for older adults and individuals with chronic illnesses, or for individuals taking medications that inhibit perspiration and the body's natural cooling process."

While most heat-related illnesses involve the elderly or people with chronic illness, children, athletes and outdoor workers face risks too.

Officials want you to remember that no one, especially children, infants and pets, should ever be left unattended in cars - even for brief periods of time. Even with windows cr-acked open temperatures inside a car can reach life-threatening levels in just a few minutes.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include fainting, rash, fatigue and nausea. Skin can become clammy and moist or hot and dry. Heat stroke can happen quickly and could turn into a life-threatening illness in a matter of minutes. If heat-related symptoms appear, immediate action should be taken to reduce the person's body temperature. 

When temperatures are above 90 degrees, officials recommend the following actions:

  • To avoid dehydration, make it a point to drink more fluids during hot weather. Rapid weight loss may be a sign of dehydration.
  • Do not plan strenuous activities during the warmest part of the day.
  • Individuals at highest risk should spend the hottest part of the day in a cool, preferably air-conditioned place.
  • Use fans to increase ventilation unless temperatures exceed 90 degrees, at which point fans become ineffective in reducing heat-related illness.
  • Cool showers, baths, and sponge baths can be used to reduce body temperatures. Wet clothing also has a cooling effect.
  • Make frequent checks on the status of elderly or ill relatives or neighbors. If necessary, move them to an air-conditioned environment during the hottest part of the day.

For more information about heat-related health concerns, click here.

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