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Tue, March 26

Keep your cool as temperatures soar
KFD has received 30 heat-related calls in the last month

The heat is on, and as summer continues, it may only get hotter.

According to Arizona State University's State Climate Office, the mean high temperature in June was 96.4 degrees in Kingman, with things getting as hot as 106 degrees on June 21. Recent rains have cooled things considerably, but the summer heat and sun can be deadly.

The Center for Disease Control defines extreme heat as "temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more over the average high temperature for a region and lasts for several weeks."

Heat causes around 400 deaths per year in the United States, more than all other natural disasters combined, according to the CDC.

The Kingman Fire Department has received around 30 heat-related calls in the last month, said Bill Johnston, spokesman for the department.

During periods of high or extreme heat, the CDC and local health agencies recommend drinking plenty of liquids and staying inside.

The CDC recommends drinking two to four glasses of cool liquids each hour during heavy exercise in a hot environment. It also recommends that residents stay away from liquids that contain a lot of sugar, caffeine or alcohol. These drinks can cause you to loose more body fluid.

As the body sweats, it loses not only water, but also certain salts and minerals. Sports drinks can be ideal for replacing these salts and minerals.

The CDC recommends talking with your doctor if you are on a low salt diet before drinking a sports drink.

The CDC and local health agencies also recommend wearing light-colored, light-weight and loose-fitting clothing, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher when working outside. Try to avoid being outside during the mid-day hours, such as between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when things are at their hottest.

If things get too hot, the CDC recommends moving indoors, preferably to some place that has air-conditioning. If your home does not have air-conditioning, visit a place that does, such as a store or the local library, or take a cool shower or bath.

Fans can provide some relief from the heat, but, according to the CDC, once the temperature starts to move past the high 90 degrees mark, fans start to lose their effectiveness in preventing heat-related illnesses.

Those at the greatest risk for death or a heat-related illness, according to the CDC, are infants and children up to 4 years old, people 65 years old and older, people who are overweight and people who have heart disease, high blood pressure or take medications for depression, insomnia or poor circulation.

If you have elderly neighbors or neighbors in poor health, the CDC recommends checking on them frequently during hot weather.

Heat-related illnesses can happen in a very short amount of time, cause serious health problems and even death.

Heat stroke is one of the most serious heat-related illnesses. According to the CDC, it occurs when the body can no longer regulate its temperature.

A person suffering from heat stroke usually stops sweating; has red, hot or dry skin; and has extremely high temperature and rapid pulse. The person may appear confused and complain of dizziness and nausea.

A person suffering from heat stroke can reach temperatures of 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes, according to the CDC. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if not treated immediately. High body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs, according the CDC.

The agency recommends calling for medical help immediately, moving the person suffering from heat stroke to a shady area and cooling them rapidly by immersing them or spraying them with cool water until their body temperature drops to 101 to 102 degrees.

Do not give a person suffering from heat stroke liquids to drink.

A person can also suffer from heat exhaustion. According to the CDC, heat exhaustion can develop after a person has not consumed enough fluids and has been exposed to high temperature for several days.

A person suffering from heat exhaustion will sweat heavily, appear pale and may complain of muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headaches and nausea.

The person's pulse may be fast and weak and their breathing may be shallow and fast, according to the CDC.

Attempt to cool the person with cool drinks, a cool shower or bath or moving them into an air-conditioned building. Seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.

A sunburn can worsen the symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Keeping cool, wearing light and loose-fitting clothing, hats, sunscreen and keeping indoors can help prevent heat stroke, heat exhaustion and sunburns.


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