State emergency management and health officials are asking residents to again take precautions if they have to be outside or in non-air-conditioned homes between Sunday and Tuesday, and to check on older or isolated neighbors who may need assistance. Heat indices could reach the upper 90s.
This summer, 10 confirmed and probable heat-related fatalities have been reported in Wisconsin. Summer heat waves have been the biggest weather-related killers in the state. Most at risk are older adults and young children. However, all persons are at risk, especially those with physical or mental health conditions. Last year, 27 people died in Wisconsin as a result of heat-related issues.
General heat exhaustion symptoms include fainting, rash, fatigue and nausea. Skin can become clammy and moist or hot and dry. Heat stroke can come on rapidly and may progress to life-threatening illness within minutes. If heat-related symptoms appear, action should be taken immediately to reduce body temperature. This includes taking a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. Wearing wet clothing also has a cooling effect.
People who do not have access to air conditioning in their homes are encouraged to seek out air conditioned facilities such as a mall, library or senior center, or stay with family or neighbors who do have air conditioning. To locate current cooling centers, visit: http://readywisconsin.wi.gov/
Here are some tips to keep safe in hot weather:
- Never leave individuals, especially children or any household pets, in a parked car – even briefly. Temperatures in a car can become life threatening within 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.
- Slow down and limit physical activity. Plan outings or exertion for the early morning or after dark when temperatures are cooler.
- Drink plenty of water and eat lightly. Don’t wait for thirst, but instead drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid alcohol or caffeine and stay away from hot, heavy meals.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Add a hat or umbrella to keep your head cool…and don’t forget sunscreen
- Don’t stop taking medication unless your doctor says you should. Take extra care to stay cool and ask your doctor or pharmacist for any special heat advice.
- Taking a cool shower or bath will cool you down. A shower or bath will actually work faster than an air conditioner. Applying cold wet towels to the neck, head and limbs also cools down the body quickly.
- Check on neighbors throughout the day who may need assistance to protect themselves against dangerous temperatures.