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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jay Lynch, Communications Director
(302) 540-4979, Cell

Date: June 9, 2011


Stay Cool and Hydrated In Dangerously Hot Weather

It may only be early June, but the forecast is HOT, and dangerously so. Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) reminds Delawareans to take precautions to help keep themselves, their loved ones, neighbors, and their pets safe.

Heat-related illness occurs whenever the body cannot compensate for excessive heat. When humidity is high, sweat ceases to evaporate and the body's natural cooling system slows down, in some cases shutting down completely. Those most at risk include the elderly, young children, obese individuals, those with fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation or sunburn, and those using prescription drugs or alcohol.

Stay in contact with elderly relatives and neighbors to make sure they stay safe in the summer heat. Heed these following heat danger warnings signs and take suggested actions:

Heat cramps occur in the muscles of the limbs or abdomen occurring during or after physical activity in high heat. Sweating results in loss of fluids and salts that cause muscle cramps. Address heat cramps by resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water.

Heat exhaustion is more severe, occurring when a person is overheated along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms may include:

Take these steps for heat exhaustion:

Heatstroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself. Since heatstroke can be life threatening, prompt medical treatment is required. Overdressing and time spent in hot vehicles can lead to heatstroke. Symptoms may include:

Take these steps for heat stroke:

Residents without access to air conditioning can avoid overheating by seeking air-conditioned public places such as stores, malls, theatres and libraries. DPH also recommends drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated and wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

Temperatures in cars can climb dangerously high very quickly in the summertime heat. Never leave another person or a pet in a car for an extended period of time. Animals are not able to sweat like humans do. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Just 15 minutes can be enough for an animal's body temperature to climb to deadly levels that damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems. This can cause the animal to become comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.