DPH Advises Residents to Prepare For Dangerously High Temperatures This Week

DOVER – The Division of Public Health (DPH) is asking Delaware residents to prepare for extreme heat this week and prevent heat-related illness as temperatures rise. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 90s through the weekend, with the heat index values as high as 110 degrees. The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for New Castle County through 10 p.m. Sunday, July 21, and a Heat Advisory for Kent County and inland Sussex County through 8 p.m. Wednesday. Additional Heat Advisory days are possible.

On hot days and warm nights, our bodies have less chance to recover, placing everyone at risk for heat-related illness. When temperatures and humidity are high, sweat ceases to evaporate and the body’s natural cooling system slows down or shuts down completely. Hot weather can cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and severe respiratory conditions, which can be fatal.
Extreme heat is especially dangerous for seniors, young children, people with disabilities, and people with breathing conditions and other chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory problems. Higher temperatures, not even in the extreme, have also been associated with higher levels of inflammation in patients with preexisting heart health conditions. Also at risk are people without access to air-conditioning, fans, or cooling shelters.
DPH suggests that every household make a heat wave plan in case of a power outage. Air-conditioners should be serviced and electric fans should be obtained before the heat rises to dangerous levels. Residents should keep cases of bottled water on hand and listen to local news reports for the locations of community “cooling centers,” which are often public libraries or churches. During days of extreme heat, Delawareans should check on vulnerable members of their families and neighbors, including seniors and those with access and functional needs.

For those who may need additional assistance, Delaware 2-1-1 connects Delawareans with critical services and support. Eligible callers can receive referrals to crisis assistance, and nearby cooling centers.

Tips to prevent heat illness:
• Do not leave people or pets alone in a parked car, even for a minute.
Call 911 if you see anyone (a child, or adult with access and functional needs) who is unable to open a door or window and is left unattended in a vehicle. Keep your car locked when you’re not in it so children don’t get in on their own. If you see a pet left in a car, even with air-conditioning running, call 911 or Delaware Animal Services at 302-255-4646.
Also remember that any equipment left in a car can quickly become hot to the touch, especially metal pieces in child car seats, seatbelt handles, and wheelchairs. Check the temperature of these items prior to use to avoid potential burns.
Carry water with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks containing sugar, alcohol, or caffeine, which dehydrate the body. Check with a doctor before increasing fluid intake if you have epilepsy, heart, kidney, or liver disease, or if you are on a fluid-restrictive diet. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html for more information.
Stay indoors on the lowest floor possible. When outdoors, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear a hat or use an umbrella. Use sunscreen with SPF 30+. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself, and has been linked to skin cancer.
Avoid extreme temperature changes. Be careful trying to cool down too quickly; a cold shower immediately after coming in from hot temperatures can lead to hypothermia, particularly for the elderly and children. In these cases, cool water is better than ice cold water.
Limit outdoor activity, especially mid-day when the sun is hottest. Work out or hold team practices early in the morning or in the early evening. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) online course for coaches, athletic trainers, students, school nurses, parents, and teachers is available at: cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/extreme/Heat_Illness/index.html.
Heed the following heat danger warning signs and take suggested actions:
o Heat cramps occur in the muscles of the limbs or abdomen during or after physical activity in high heat. Sweating results in a loss of fluids and salts that cause muscle cramps. Address heat cramps by resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water.
o Heat exhaustion is more severe, occurring when a person is overheated, along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms include dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, rapid breathing, irritability, and fainting. Take these simple steps to reduce heat exhaustion: Move the person indoors or into shade. Loosen or remove the person’s clothing. Encourage the person with heat exhaustion to eat and drink. Get the person to a cool shower or bath. Call your doctor for further advice.
o Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself, and can be a life-threatening event. Prompt medical treatment is required. Symptoms include: flushed, hot and dry skin with no sweating; high body temperature (above 103 degrees F, taken orally); severe, throbbing headache; weakness, dizziness, or confusion; sluggishness or fatigue; decreased responsiveness; and loss of consciousness. If heat stroke occurs, take these steps: Call 9-1-1 immediately. This is a medical emergency. Get the heat stroke victim indoors or into shade. Get the person into a cool shower or bath or wipe them down with continuously soaked cool washcloths while awaiting emergency responders.

For more information, visit the CDC at cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html.
Make a Heat Plan for Pets:

DPH also urges pet owners to make a plan for caring for their pets. Animals at the greatest risk of stress from the heat include pregnant or lactating animals, very young and older animals, animals with darker coats, obese pets, short-nosed dog breeds, and animals with chronic health conditions. Signs of heat stress can include panting, increased salivation, restlessness, muscle spasms, increased heartbeat and body temperature, weakness, lack of coordination, bright red or pale and sticky gums, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.
Pets should not be left in vehicles, even in mild temperatures: Animals kept inside a vehicle in warm or hot temperatures are susceptible to heatstroke. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the interior of a vehicle can reach 89 degrees in just 10 minutes when the temperature outside is just 70 degrees. At 80 degrees outside, a vehicle’s interior can reach 99 degrees in that time. Temperatures will continue to rise inside a vehicle, and the AVMA states that cracking windows does little to help. Call 911, or Delaware Animal Services at 302-255-4646 immediately, if you see a pet left unattended in a vehicle.
Animals should have access to shade and water when outside: The best place for pets in hot temperatures is inside the home. If a pet must be outside in the heat, make sure the animal has a shady area and fresh water to help stay cool. The interiors of cat and dog houses can get very hot in summer months and, therefore, do not provide adequate shade.
Practice caution when walking dogs in the heat: The best time of day to walk dogs in summer months is in the early morning or late evening when the sun’s heat is not as intense. A simple touch of the hand to any surface where a walk is planned will tell if it’s too hot for a dog. If it’s too hot for a human hand, it’s too hot for a dog’s paws.
Pay attention to signs of heat stroke: Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to heat stroke in high temperatures, especially if there is high humidity, increased activity or little ventilation. A dog that is drooling, excessively panting, or unsteady can be signs of heat stroke, which can be life-threatening. Seek immediate veterinary attention if your dog has become over-heated and is showing any of these symptoms.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Delaware Public Health Urges Residents to Take Additional Prevention Measures in Extreme Heat

DOVER – While temperatures will again climb into the 90s this weekend, heat indexes (‘feels-like’ temperatures) are predicted to soar to over 100 degrees. With the National Weather Service’s Excessive Heat Warning continuing through 9 pm. Sunday for New Castle County, the Division of Public Health (DPH) is urging residents statewide to take precautions and preventive measures in the extreme heat conditions. Hot weather can cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and severe respiratory conditions, which can be fatal.

Extreme heat is especially dangerous for seniors, young children, people with disabilities, and people with breathing conditions and other chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Also at risk are people without access to air conditioning, fans, or cooling shelters. On excessively warm days, our bodies have less chance to recover, placing everyone at risk for heat-related illness. Sweat ceases to evaporate and the body’s natural cooling system slows down or shuts down completely when temperatures and humidity are extremely high.
In the coming days, Delawareans are encouraged to stay indoors as much as possible. Residents who don’t have access to air conditioning, or fans should seek out cooler locations such as libraries or shopping malls. Residents are also asked to check on vulnerable members of their families and neighbors, particularly the elderly and people with disabilities.

Animals are also sensitive to the heat and are at risk for heat-related illnesses. Owners should make sure to provide shade or move animals to shaded pens, provide plenty of cool drinking water, and avoid unnecessary transportation, and walking of pets. Animals at the greatest risk of stress from the heat include pregnant or lactating animals, very young and older animals, animals with darker coats, obese pets, short-nosed dog breeds, and animals with chronic health conditions. In dogs and cats, such signs can include rapid panting, increased heartbeat and body temperature, weakness, increased salivation, restlessness, and muscle spasms, lack of coordination, bright red or pale and sticky gums, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.

Delaware 2-1-1 connects Delawareans with critical services and support. Eligible callers can receive referrals to summer cooling and crisis assistance and the City of Wilmington’s Free Electric Fan Program for seniors.

Tips to prevent heat illness:

• Do not leave a child or pets alone in a parked car, even for a minute. Call 911 if you see a child or pet left unattended in a vehicle. Carry water with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks containing sugar, alcohol, or caffeine, which dehydrate the body. Check with a doctor before increasing fluid intake if you have epilepsy, heart, kidney, or liver disease, or if you are on a fluid-restrictive diet. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html for more information.
• Stay indoors on the lowest floor possible. When outdoors, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear a hat or use an umbrella. Use sunscreen. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself, and has been linked to skin cancer. Avoid extreme temperature changes. Be careful trying to cool down too quickly; a cold shower immediately after coming in from hot temperatures can lead to hypothermia, particularly for the elderly and children. In these cases, cool water is better than ice cold water.
• Limit outdoor activity, especially mid-day when the sun is hottest. Work out or hold team practices early in the morning or in the early evening. A CDC online course for coaches, athletic trainers, students, school nurses, parents, and teachers is at cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/extreme/Heat_Illness/index.html
Heed the following heat danger warning signs and take suggested actions:
• Heat cramps occur in the muscles of the limbs or abdomen occurring during or after physical activity in high heat. Sweating results in a loss of fluids and salts that cause muscle cramps. Address heat cramps by resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water.
• Heat exhaustion is more severe, occurring when a person is overheated along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms include dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, rapid breathing, irritability, and fainting. Take these simple steps to reduce heat exhaustion: Move the person indoors or into shade. Loosen or remove the person’s clothing. Encourage the person with heat exhaustion to eat and drink. Get the person to a cool shower or bath. Call your doctor for further advice.
• Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself, and can be a life-threatening event. Prompt medical treatment is required. Symptoms include: flushed, hot and dry skin with no sweating; high body temperature (above 103 degrees F, taken orally); severe, throbbing headache; weakness, dizziness, or confusion; sluggishness or fatigue; decreased responsiveness; and loss of consciousness. If heat stroke occurs, take these steps: Call 9-1-1 immediately. This is a medical emergency. Get the heat stroke victim indoors or into shade. Get the person into a cool shower or bath or wipe them down with continuously soaked cool washcloths while awaiting emergency responders.

For more information, visit the CDC at cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit delawarerelay.com.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.


Prepare to beat the heat as summer and higher temperatures arrive

DOVER (June 21, 2013) – On this first day of summer, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and Division of Public Health (DPH) of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) advise Delawareans to be prepared for extreme summer heat, while offering precautions for withstanding rising temperatures, and also what to do when you are involved in a heat-related incident. 

Extreme heat kills an average of 1,500 people in the United States each year – exceeding deaths from hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and blizzards combined. Since 1993, more than 400 Delawareans have died due to excessive heat.  

Heat illness occurs whenever the body cannot compensate for excessive heat. When temperatures and humidity are high, sweat ceases to evaporate and the body’s natural cooling system slows down, in some cases shutting down completely. Very hot weather can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Most at risk of suffering heat-related illnesses are children, the elderly, the poor or homeless, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with chronic medical conditions. Of all who are susceptible, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions are less likely to sense and respond to rises in temperature, and medications can intensify heat effects. Extremely hot weather can worsen existing chronic medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

DNREC and DPH advise Delawareans to: 

STAY COOL

  • Find air-conditioned shelters like libraries, malls, theatres, or houses of worship. Stay on the lowest floor possible to avoid the heat. Do not rely on a fan alone as the primary cooling device.
  • Avoid direct sunlight. If you must do strenuous activity outdoors, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear hats or use an umbrella. Loosely cover as much skin as possible and use sunscreen. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself, and has been linked to skin cancer.
  • Take cool (not cold) showers or baths. An icy cold shower immediately after coming in from hot temperatures can be detrimental to health, particularly for the elderly and children. 

STAY HYDRATED

  • Drink plenty of water regularly. Carry water with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid sugared, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which dehydrate the body. 
  • Check with a doctor before significantly increasing fluid intake if you have heart, kidney or liver disease, or if your doctor placed you on a fluid–restricted diet.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often rather than eating a few large meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.

STAY INFORMED

  • Check the local news for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.
  • Learn the symptoms of heat illness. (See below.)

TAKE CARE OF OTHERS

  • Help those dependent on your care to stay cool, hydrated, and informed.
  • Check on friends and neighbors. Take them to air-conditioned locations if they are lacking for transportation.
  • Do not leave people or animals in enclosed vehicles – check the back seat of your vehicle before exiting it to make sure you are not forgetting anyone there.
  • Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and call 9-1-1 if medical attention is needed. 

Heat exhaustion occurs when a person is overheated along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms include dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, rapid breathing, irritability and fainting. Take these steps when it happens:

  • Move the person indoors or into shade.
  • Loosen or remove the person’s clothing.
  • Encourage the heat exhaustion victim to eat and drink.
  • Get the person to a cool shower or bath.
  • Call your doctor for further advice. 

Heatstroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself, and can be a life-threatening event. Prompt medical treatment is required. Symptoms include: flushed, hot and dry skin with no sweating; high body temperature (above 103°F, orally taken); severe, throbbing headache; weakness, dizziness, or confusion; sluggishness or fatigue; decreased responsiveness; and loss of consciousness. If heatstroke occurs, take these steps:

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately. This is a medical emergency.
  • Get the heatstroke victim indoors or into shade.
  • Get the person into a cool shower or bath, or wipe them down with continually soaked cool washcloths while awaiting emergency responders.

For further information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/index.html. 

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. 

It is the mission of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to protect and manage the state’s vital natural resources, protect public health and safety, provide quality outdoor recreation, and to serve and educate the citizens of the First State about the wise use, conservation and enhancement of Delaware’s environment.

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services 
Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov   

Delaware Department of Natural Resources
and Environmental Control
Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs
302-739-9902
Email: michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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