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June 27, 2013

Red Cross warns of summer heat's risks

As temperatures in the 80s continue throughout the region, the American Red Cross reminds area residents to take common-sense precautions against health risks associated with the heat. 

“Excessive heat can be deadly; it has caused more deaths in recent years than all other weather events,” Southern Tier Chapter Executive Shelley Biewiler said in a media release. “We want everyone to stay safe during the hot weather and have some reminders for them to follow when the weather is hot and humid.”

The Red Cross recommends the following tips: 

• Never leave children or pets in the car, where temperatures can quickly reach dangerous levels. 

• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, but avoid beverages containing caffeine or alcohol. 

• Avoid extreme temperature changes (from hot to cold, or vice versa). 

• Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Dark colors absorb more heat from the sun. 

• Stay indoors and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day. Postpone outdoor games and activities until temperatures go down. 

• Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat, and take frequent breaks. 

• Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning. 

• Provide plenty of cool water for animals. 

• Seek relief from the heat in air-conditioned spaces, such as schools, libraries, theaters and shopping malls. 

• Watch for signs of heat exhaustion, which include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating,

headache, nausea, dizziness, and weakness or exhaustion. If someone displays these symptoms, move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Give the person small amounts of cool water to drink. If the person refuses water, vomits or beings to lose consciousness, call 911. 

• Watch for signs of heat stroke, which is a life-threatening emergency condition. Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature. After calling 911, move the person to a cool place and quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them in water, spraying them with water or covering their body in cold, wet towels or bags of ice. 

For more information on heat-related first aid, and other tips,  visit 

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