How to stay safe during a heat wave, spot signs of heat-related - FOX Carolina 21

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How to stay safe during a heat wave, spot signs of heat-related illness

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Summer heat. (Courtesy: AP Images) Summer heat. (Courtesy: AP Images)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

As temperatures soar in the Upstate, authorities are releasing tips to keep communities cool - and safe - this summer.

Heat index values, also known as the "feels like" temperature, ranged from 98 to 103 degrees in the Upstate on Friday and the stifling temperatures are expected to continue into the weekend.

READ MORE: Dangerous Heat Today

The Greenville City Fire Department released tips for heat safety and preventing heat-related illnesses during times of dangerous heat. Kevin Crosby with Greenville City Fire said the best thing to do is avoid prolonged exposure to extreme heat; drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exposure; wear breathable clothing; take plenty of breaks while doing outdoor activities.

Below are suggestions from Crosby on practicing heat safety:

  • Job Sites - Summer weather poses unique hazards for outdoor workers, who are at a higher risk for heat-related emergencies. When working outside under hot conditions, stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade as often as possible. Knowing symptoms, prevention and emergency response methods can help prevent heat-related illnesses and death.
  • Vehicles - Never leave children, disabled adults or pets in parked vehicles. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. Always LOOK before you LOCK.
  • Outdoors - Limit strenuous activities, find shade and stay hydrated. Apply sunscreen liberally and wear lightweight, loose fitting, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight. Hats are also a good idea to protect your face and scalp from harmful UV rays if you will be spending time directly in the sunshine.
  • Indoors – Check on neighbors who are elderly or sick, or who don’t have air conditioning. 

Firefighters also shared these symptoms of heat-related illnesses of which to be aware:

Heat Stroke

A condition that occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature and can cause death or permanent disability.

Symptoms:

  • High body temperature
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Throbbing headache
  • Seizures, coma

First Aid:

  • Request immediate medical assistance
  • Move the person to a cool, shaded area
  • Remove excess clothing and apply cool water to the body

Heat Exhaustion

The body’s response to excessive loss of water and salt, usually through sweating.

Symptoms:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Slightly elevated body temperature

First Aid:

  • Rest in a cool area
  • Drink plenty of water or other cool beverages
  • Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath

Heat Cramps

Affects people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity, which depletes all the body’s salt and moisture levels.

Symptoms:

  • Muscle cramps, pain or spasms in the abdomen, arms or legs

First Aid:

  • Stop all activity and sit in a cool place
  • Drink clear juice or a sports beverage, or drink water with food (avoid salt tablets)
  • Do not return to strenuous activity for a few hours after cramps subside
  • Seek medical attention if you have the following: heart problems, are on a low sodium diet or if the cramps do not subside within one hour

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