Staying Safe in Wisconsin Summer Heat

Today is Wisconsin Heat Awareness Day, a fitting title as temperatures climb into the mid-80s in the coming days. With heat and humidity comes high risk for weather-related deaths, especially among children and the elderly.

Wisconsin Emergency Management and the National Weather Service outline important steps to take to ensure your safety in the summer months. In 2011, five people in Wisconsin died of excessive heat and more than 100 were treated for heat-related symptoms.

As Northeast Wisconsin sweats it out for the coming months, here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe this summer:

  • Drink up—Staying hydrated is key to warding off heat-related health emergencies. Drink fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty and avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
  • Dress for the weather and wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Carry a hat or umbrella if possible.
  • Check up on friends and neighbors who don’t have air conditioning, especially if they are elderly. Find places to go during the day for relief such as schools, libraries or the mall if you don’t have air conditioning at home.
  • Avoid work outdoors if possible and take frequent breaks if you must be outside. Take a cool shower or bath when you come in from working outside or if you feel overheated.
  • Eat small meals more often to ensure you are getting proper nutrition along with hydration.  
  • Call 9-1-1 if someone is showing signs of heat stroke, which include hot, red skin, changes in consciousness, vomiting and high body temperature. Heat cramps are muscular pains that often signal the start of heat-related health problems. If someone has these symptoms, call 9-1-1 and move them into a cool place.

Wisconsin offers a multitude of options for fun this summer, and staying cool will help us all enjoy them safely. For more information on heat safety, please visit redcross.org

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