PUBLIC HEALTH HEAT ADVISORY
July 27 and 28, 2023
The Central MA Regional Public Health Alliance (CMRPHA) is issuing the following public health heat alert based on predicted high heat index values for July 27 and 28, 2023. Residents are urged to take appropriate precautions to avoid heat-related emergencies.
Conditions of extreme heat are defined as summertime temperatures that are substantially hotter and/or more humid than average for location at that time of year. During extremely hot and humid weather, the body's ability to cool itself is affected. Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you're exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily, and/or you don't drink enough fluids.
In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly and individuals are in extreme danger of becoming very ill. The elderly, the very young and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. However, any individual can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. Summertime activity, whether on the playing field or the construction site, must be balanced with measures that aid the body's cooling mechanisms and prevent heat-related illness.
The most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke (sun stroke), heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash, and residents are advised to take the following cautions to stay safe:
TIPS TO PREVENT HEAT RELATED ILLNESS
- Never leave people or pets unattended in a parked car.
- Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of your activity level, to stay hydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
- If possible, stay in an air-conditioned space. Use fans as needed.
- Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate when appropriate.
- Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothes.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.
- During the hottest parts of the day, keep physical activities to a minimum and stay indoors in air-conditioning and out of the sun. Limit outdoor activities to morning or evening hours.
- Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage to replace salts and minerals lost during heavy sweating.
- Use cool compresses, misting, showers, and baths to beat the heat.
- Check on your friends, neighbors, and relatives
- Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke
HEAT STROKE AND HEAT EXHAUSTION
Heat stroke, which occurs when the body cannot control its temperature, may result in disability or death if emergency treatment is not given. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses a large amount of water and salt contained in sweat.
Warning signs of heat stroke vary, but may include:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, orally)
- Dizziness, nausea and confusion
- Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
If you suspect you or someone else is suffering from heat stroke, immediately dial 9-1-1 or get the individual to a hospital. Use any available means to cool down the body, but do not give the person anything to drink.
Warning signs of heat exhaustion vary, but may include:
- Heavy sweating
- Nausea or vomiting
- Paleness, tiredness, dizziness
- Muscle Cramps
If you notice signs of heat exhaustion, get the affected individual to a cooler location immediately, cool down by taking sips of a cold beverage, and seek medical assistance if symptoms persist.Learn more about the signs of heat-related illness at www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html, and get additional tips and resources at www.ready.gov/heat.