Extreme Heat Precautions Recommended

September 22, 2023

Allan Urlis, APR  (402) 432-1532,allan.urlis@nebraska.gov

Extreme Heat Precautions Recommended

Lincoln, NE – With temperatures rising to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit this week in areas throughout the state, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reminds residents to take precautions to reduce risk of heat-related illness.

According to preliminary data from DHHS, there have been 77 emergency room visits due to heat-related illness across the state from Saturday through Tuesday of this week.

Symptoms of heat-related illnesses

Exposure to extreme heat can lead to heat stress resulting in heat-related illness. Heat-related illness occur when the body cannot cool itself enough to maintain a normal temperature. Heat illness occurs along a spectrum; recognizing the signs is important for prevention.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include muscle pain or spasms; cold, pale clammy skin; tiredness or weakness and dizziness; and headache and fainting.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, move to a cool place and loosen your clothes, put a cool, wet cloth on your body or take a cool bath and sip water. You should seek medical attention for heat exhaustion if you’re throwing up and/or if your symptoms last longer than one hour.

Symptoms of heat stroke can include a high body temperature; hot and red or dry or damp skin; fast, strong pulse; dizziness; nausea or vomiting; confusion; and fainting or loss of consciousness.

If someone is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 right away, move the person to a cooler place, loosen clothes and cool the person quickly by wetting or applying ice to the neck, armpits and groin areas. Do not give the person anything to drink.

Ways to stay safe: Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated, Stay Alert

Stay Cool

  • Air conditioning is the strongest protection against heat-related illness. Exposure to air conditioning even for a few hours a day will reduce the risk of health-related illness.
  • Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Stay in the shade.

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.

Stay Alert

  • Never leave anyone or pets inside of a closed or parked vehicle.
  • Check on people who live alone, especially the elderly.
  • Continue to monitor heat warnings and know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

If you must be out in the heat:

  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first “tip” (above), too.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses, and put on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

Learn more about extreme heat and how you can protect yourself and your family at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/

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Helping People Live Better Lives | dhhs.ne.gov