Rising heat calls for extra precautions - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Rising heat calls for extra precautions


Wednesday could be the hottest day of the season, so far. People are asked to be careful you don't overdo it out there. Heat-related health issues can develop quickly. In fact, emergency workers have already responded to several calls of people getting sick from the heat.

Wednesday's highs are expected to reach the lower 90s. The heat index will reach the lower 100s possibly.

Officials say the best advice is to take breaks from the heat, wear light colored clothing and stay hydrated. Fire officials say people overdo it outdoors every summer.

Lt. Bryan Harrell, with Birmingham Fire and Rescue, he says the heat related emergency calls usually come from people who are at parks, doing yard work or working at construction sites. Harrell says even though firefighters are trained to endure the heat, it can even be too much them.

That is why crews are rotated and they take breaks.

Harrell says you can become overheated fast in this weather, which can lead to a heat stroke, seizures and even death.

"It's several signs of dehydration. Can start with heat cramps, cramping in the legs or any of your joints. Next, you can have heat exhaustion or dehydration and skin kind of moist and clammy, nausea and headaches," Harrell said.

Harrell says stay away from caffeine and alcohol if you're in the heat for a long time. Lt. Rusty Lowe, with the Hoover Fire Department, says there have been just a few heat related emergency calls in the past few days. He expects them to start picking up.

If you're going to be out in the heat, try to follow these tips:

  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar-these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library-even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
  • Infants and young children
  • People aged 65 or older
  • People who have a mental illness
  • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.

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