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Posted on: August 7, 2023

Extreme Heat Safety

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Be prepared to combat heat this summer! You can take steps to stay cool as temperatures rise. Find a cooling center near you, learn how to stay safe in the heat, and know the signs of heat-related illnesses.

Find a Cooling Center Near You!

Looking for a public space with air conditioning? Visit a Chesapeake Public Library branch, or a Chesapeake Community Center location.

  • Central Library - 298 Cedar Road
  • Clarence V. Cuffee Outreach and Innovation Library - 2726 Border Road
  • Greenbrier Library - 1214 Volvo Parkway
  • Indian River Library - 2320 Old Greenbrier Road
  • Major Hillard Library - 824 Old George Washington Highway, North
  • Russell Memorial Library - 2808 Taylor Road
  • South Norfolk Memorial Library - 801 Poindexter Street
  • Deep Creek Community Center - 2901 Margaret Booker Drive
  • Clarence V. Cuffee Community Center - 2019 Windy Road
  • Great Bridge Community Center - 212 Holt Drive
  • Indian River Community Center - 2250 Old Greenbrier Road
  • River Crest Community Center - 1001 River Walk Parkway
  • South Norfolk Community Center - 1217 Godwin Avenue
  • Western Branch Community Center - 4437 Portsmouth Boulevard

What can you and your loved ones do to stay safe in the heat?

  • Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day. If a child or animal is seen alone in a hot car, call 9-1-1 immediately and follow their instructions.
  • Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If you or someone you care for is on a special diet, ask a doctor what would be best.
  • Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.
  • If you're outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Use SPF 30 or higher.
  • Utilize fans, but don’t solely rely on them if temperatures rise above 95 degrees. Even though fans create air flow, other heat safety techniques should be incorporated to lower the risk of heat-related illnesses.
  • Avoid high-energy activities.
  • Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness. Those most at risk of heat-related illness are people 65 and older, children younger than two, and individuals with chronic health conditions.

What is heat-related illness? What are the signs and symptoms? What should you do if someone is experiencing heat-related illness?

Heat-related illness happens when you are exposed to elevated temperatures for a prolonged period. Heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sun burn, and heat rash. These illnesses can be prevented if you know the warning signs and symptoms.

Heat Stroke

  • Signs and symptoms: High body temperature (103°F or higher); hot, red, dry, or damp skin; nausea; losing consciousness/passing out; dizziness; headache; fast and strong pulse; and confusion.
  • What to do during heat stroke: Call 9-1-1 immediately. A heat stroke is a medical emergency. Move the person into a cooler space and lower the person’s temperature by applying cool cloths to the body or placing them in a cool bath. Do not give the person anything to drink.

Heat Exhaustion

  • Signs and symptoms: Heavy sweating; cold, pale, and clammy skin; fainting/passing out; headache; fast and weak pulse; nausea/vomiting; muscle cramps; and dizziness.
  • What to do during heat exhaustion: Move to a cool place and loosen your clothes. Apply cool, wet cloths to the body, or take a cool bath. Sip some water.

Heat Cramps

  • Signs and symptoms: Muscle pain or spasms, and heavy sweating during rigorous exercise.
  • What to do during heat cramps: Stop all physical activity and give your body a moment to recover in a cool place. Drink some water or a sports drink while you rest. Wait for the cramps to go away before continuing exercises or physical activity. You should seek medical attention right away if the cramps last more than an hour, if you are on a low-sodium diet, or if you have heart problems. It is smart to schedule workouts and sports practices earlier or later in the day, as the temperature is often cooler. Take humidity into consideration because sweat does not evaporate as quickly when humidity is high.

Sunburn

  • Signs and symptoms: Skin that is red, painful, and warm to the touch. Blisters may also appear.
  • How to prevent a sunburn, and how to care for a sunburn: Apply sun protection, including protective clothing and an SPF of 30 or higher. Seek shade and limit your time in the midday sun. Sunrays are at their strongest between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pay attention to the UV Index. Limit tanning. If you do get sunburned, stay out of the sun until your sunburn fully heals, put moisturizing lotion on your sunburned areas, apply cool cloths or cold water to the burns, and do not break blisters.

Heat Rash

  • Signs and symptoms: These red clusters of small blisters are often found on the neck, chest, groin, or elbow creases and may look like pimples.
  • How to treat a heat rash: Keep the rash dry. Use a drying powder to soothe the rash, and stay in a cool, dry place.

For more extreme heat resources, visit any of the following links:

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