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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: May 30, 2014


DOVER (May 29, 2014) - This summer, be smart about your workout. People who exercise in extreme heat are more likely to become dehydrated and get heat-related illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during 1999-2005 a total of 3,981 heat-related deaths were reported, resulting in approximately 569 heat-related deaths per year in the United States. If you are feeling faint or weak, the Division of Public Health reminds you to stop all activity and get to a cool environment.

Heat illness occurs whenever the body cannot compensate for excessive heat. When temperatures and humidity are high, sweat ceases to evaporate and the body's natural cooling system slows down, in some cases shutting down completely. Very hot weather can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal. "Exercise is a vital part of staying healthy and is especially fun in the summer," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director. "But it's important to remember to be smart and take extra precautions in warm weather."

Exercising during high temperatures can put you at high risk. Extremely hot weather can also worsen existing chronic medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory and cardiovascular problems. DPH recommends:

Heat exhaustion occurs when a person is overheated along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms include dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, rapid breathing, irritability and fainting. Take these simple steps to reduce heat exhaustion:

Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself, and can be a life-threatening event. Prompt medical treatment is required. Symptoms include: flushed, hot and dry skin with no sweating; high body temperature (above 103 F, taken orally); severe, throbbing headache; weakness, dizziness, or confusion; sluggishness or fatigue; decreased responsiveness; and loss of consciousness. If heat stroke occurs, take these steps:

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

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.