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Red cross encourages safety during days of excessive heat


July 13, 2010

Temperatures are rising and the Red Cross has some tips that will help people and pets stay safe in the sunshine.

To help prevent heat-related illnesses follow these tips:

• Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing (light colors reflect away some of the sun’s energy) and plenty of sunscreen. Wear a hat or use an umbrella to help shield you from the sun.

• Carry water or juice and drink frequently, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.

• Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein.

• Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do something physically demanding, try to do it during the coolest part of the day.

• Stay indoors as much as possible.

• Watch for signs of life-threatening heat stroke. The person’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled.

• If you or someone you know experience symptoms, call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body by wrapping wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, place them on each of the victim’s wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels. Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

If you find that you and your family can’t get out of the heat at your home there are places you can go. Due to the recent spike in temperatures Snohomish County has opened heat relief facilities for those needing to escape the sun.

The shelters closest to Lake Stevens include the Stillaguamish Senior Center in Arlington at 18308 Smokey Pointe Boulevard open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and in Everett located at the Everett Senior Activity Center, 3025 Lombard St. open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Libraries, movie theatres and malls are also equipped with air conditioning and offer an easy way to escape the heat if needed.


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