Hot weather safety tips - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Hot weather safety tips

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin Emergency Management and the National Weather Service have declared Thursday Wisconsin Heat Awareness Day, to remind people of dangers associated with extreme heat.

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. From 2000 to 2009, excessive heat claimed an average of 162 lives per year across the country.

In Wisconsin, two killer heat waves in 1995 took the lives of 154 people and sickened more than 300. For the past 50 years, summer heat waves have killed more people than tornadoes and severe storms.

Officials are offering the following tips to stay safe in hot weather:

  • Never leave children, disabled people or pets in a parked car, even for a few minutes.  On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked slightly can reach 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
  • Keep your living space cool. Cover windows to keep the sun from shining in. If you don't have an air conditioner, open windows to let air circulate. When it's hotter than 95 degrees, use fans to blow hot air out of the window rather than to blow hot air on your body. Basements or ground floors are often cooler than upper floors.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Add a hat or umbrella to keep your head cool. Don't forget sunscreen!
  • Don't stop taking medication unless your doctor says you should. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for any special heat advice.
  • Infants should drink breast milk or formula to get the right balance of water, salts and energy. You can add 4 to 8 additional ounces of water to your infant's fluids per day. Unless instructed by your doctor, don't dilute formula beyond what the instructions say.
  • A cool shower or bath will cool you down. It will actually work faster than an air conditioner. Applying cold wet rags to the neck, head and limbs also cools down the body quickly.

Possible signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headache, muscle crams, weakness, nausea or vomiting. Cool off or get help if you feel any of these symptoms.

Call 911 if you or someone else displays the following symptoms in hot weather: Hot and dry skin, confusion, unconsciousness, chest pains or shortness of breath.

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