With Temperatures Expected to Soar, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Offers Tips to Stay Safe

Saturday, June 7, 2008 General News
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HARRISBURG, Pa., June 6 The Pennsylvania Department of Health today reminded Pennsylvanians to take necessary precautions to stay healthy as the season's first heat wave looms.

The National Weather Service has posted excessive heat watches and warnings for much of the central and southeastern regions of the state from Saturday afternoon through Monday evening, with "feels-like" temperatures expected to be around 100 degrees.

"Hot and humid weather reminds us that it is particularly important for children under five years-old, the elderly, individuals who are overweight, those who have heart and breathing problems, or are on certain medications to pay close attention to their outside activities during hot and humid weather," said Secretary of Health Dr. Calvin B. Johnson. "Unfortunately, many people do not understand just how dangerous hot weather can be or how they can keep themselves safe."

The two most common types of heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion is the body's response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat; warning signs include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea or vomiting. If you are experiencing heat exhaustion, you should rest in a cool area and drink plenty of water. If the condition worsens or does not get better within an hour, seek medical attention.

Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to control its temperature. The body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Warning signs of heat stroke include extreme body temperature, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness and confusion. If you develop symptoms of heat stroke, you should call your doctor right away.

Dr. Johnson suggests these guidelines for staying healthy during hot weather:

For additional information and hot weather safety tips, you can call 877-PA-HEALTH or go to www.health.state.pa.us.

CONTACT: Stacy Kriedeman

(717) 787-1783

-- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Don't wait until you're thirsty. -- Avoid beverages that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar because they can actually cause your body to lose more body fluid. -- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. -- Stay indoors and out of the sun. If at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place during the hottest part of the day. -- If you must be outside, limit your activity to early morning or evening hours when the temperature drops.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health

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