The Virginia Department of Health advises that with the daytime heat index expected to reach or exceed 105 degrees over the next couple of days, it becomes even more important that people follow recommendations to protect themselves from the extreme heat:
- Schedule or reschedule activities and outdoor work during the coolest parts of the day. In the summer, sunlight exposure is greatest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Take a cool shower or a bath. Spending at least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly reduces the number of heat-related illnesses.
- Drink plenty of fluids (2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour.) However, talk to your doctor first if you're on a fluid-restricted diet or medications, or on a low-salt diet.
- Avoid sunburn and wear light clothing.
- Never leave children or pets in cars. Temperatures inside a car can reach more than 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.
- Use the "buddy system" if you're working outside. Make sure someone else knows of you plans.
Recognizing Heat Stroke
Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)
- Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
- What to Do
If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency.
Have someone call 911 for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim.
Get the victim to a shady area.
Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temp drops to 101-102°F.
If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
Do not give the victim fluids to drink.
Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
For more information about heat-related illnesses, visit the Virginia Department of Health's website.