Health officials warn of dangers of heat wave
Northern Michigan residents are facing high temperatures and humidity this week.
The Michigan Department of Community Health is urging residents to protect themselves against some of the health issues that arise during these hot times of the summer.
According to the MDCH, any time that temperatures reach the high 80's or above, body temperatures can rise causing muscle cramps, dizziness, severe health illness and, in extreme cases, death.
Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive at the MDCH, says it's important to stay well hydrated, limit your exposure to the heat, and be vigilant for signs of heat-related illness.
According to the MDCH, dehydration is the first stage of heat-related illness. It occurs when body fluids are lost, and then not replaced by sweating. Symptoms can include dry mouth, thirst, headaches, dizziness, cramps, excessive fatigue and irritability.
The next, more serious stage is heat exhaustion, which generally occurs when people exercise heavily or work in warm, humid places. The high temperatures will cause you to lose body fluids from sweating, which can reduce blood flow to vital organs, leading to shock. Those suffering from heat exhaustion typically have symptoms of headaches, moist and pale skin, nausea, dizziness, weakness and exhaustion.
The most severe stage of heat-related illness is heat stroke, or sunstroke, which can be deadly. Symptoms include vomiting, decreased alertness or loss of consciousness, high body temperature and red, hot, dry skin with a rapid, weak pulse. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately and try to cool the person down by putting them in a tub of cool water or shower them with a garden hose.
To avoid heat illness, follow these tips from the MDCH:
-Use air conditioning or spend time in air-conditioned locations, when possible.
-Take a cool bath, shower or swim.
-Minimize direct exposure to the sun.
-Limit time outdoors as much as possible, but take frequent breaks if you must be outside.
-Stay hydrated - drink water or nonalcoholic fluids. Try to avoid fluids with caffeine because they can dehydrate you.
-Wear loose fitting, light-colored clothes.
-Check on your neighbors, friends and family, especially those who are older, those with very young children or those with health problems.
-Never leave children, the elderly, or pets unattended in a vehicle. Even with the windows rolled down, or just for a few minutes.
"In addition, we should look out for our neighbors during these especially hot days, to see if we can help them stay safe from the heat," said Dr. Davis. "
It is particularly important for older adults, infants and children to pay attention to these health tips.