Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hot Weather Ahead

From Hot Weather

When the mercury approaches 90-degrees in Oregon, many people call it blazing hot! If you came from the South, that may sound silly. But, for those of us who are acclimated to Oregon's mild temperatures, a 90-degree+ day brings along some hazards that you should be considering when planning outdoor activities.

1. You can't do as much in the heat as you do in the cooler temperatures. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of cool (not cold) water to keep yourself hydrated. Heat exhaustion is the result of too much exertion during high temperatures. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are:
Muscle cramps

Usually, people experience symptoms of heat exhaustion before exhibiting signs of a heat stroke. But, not always. Symptoms of heat stroke may appear rapidly or slowly. A heat stroke is a true medical emergency. You should call 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect a heat stroke. Left untreated, heat stroke can be fatal. Symptoms include:
High body temperature
The absence of sweating with hot red or flushed dry skin
Rapid pulse
Difficulty breathing
Strange behavior

Get the patient to a shady area and remove clothing.
Cool the patient as soon as possible. Spray the patient with water and fan to promote evaporation on the skin.
Place ice bags under the arm pits and groin.

Avoid strenuous exercise or work during the heat of the day.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Take frequent breaks.
Wear a hat when in the sun.
Wear light weight, light colored clothing.

The populations who most at risk of heat exhaustion and stroke are:
Elderly (especially those with chronic diseases)
Outdoor workers

2. The second issue during hot weather is FIRE. Several successive days of high temperatures and low humidity dry out the fuels, such as grasses and brush. The rising temperatures put the fuels closer to their ignition point.

Please be careful with fire. If you plan to camp, follow safety rules regarding care and extinguishment of campfires. Use your ashtray not the roadway for discarded smoking materials. Remember what "Smokey" says, "Only you can prevent forest fires."

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