It’s hot, even dangerously hot. State officials warn to take a few precautions the next couple of days.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for today and tomorrow. Temperatures throughout Nebraska are expected to be in the upper 90s to over 100, with the heat index much higher.
Such sustained heat poses health risks, according to State Epidemiologist Dr. Tom Safranek.
“And that increases the risk. It seems to compound things as you have that prolonged degree of heat. Your risk of heat injury increases as time goes on at a sustained high temperature,” Safranek tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Heat can trigger a number of illnesses, the worst being heat stroke where the body temperature can reach 104 degrees.
If outdoors working or playing, take breaks. Sports drinks might have added benefits.
“But the most critical prevention is just having good hydration,” according to Safranek. “A good water supply is fine.”
He says to check up on the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions, and infants, because they do not regulate body temperatures well.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services provides these tips for hot days:
· Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.
· Avoid alcohol and limit drinks with caffeine.
· Wear loose, light-colored clothing and sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher).
· Never leave children or pets in a parked car.
· Pets can suffer from heat-related illness too. If your pet spends its days outside, make sure it has plenty of fresh water and shade.
· If outdoors, slow your pace and take frequent rest breaks.
· Remember playground equipment can get very hot so parents should do a touch test before letting their children play on it and be sure kids wear shoes to protect feet from hot pavement or surfaces.
· Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
· Try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
· If you don’t have air conditioning, go to a public building where you can cool off.
· Electric fans may provide comfort, but when temperatures reach the high 90s, fans won’t prevent heat-related illness. Take a cool shower or bath or move to an air-conditioned place.
· Check on elderly friends and neighbors. Make sure they’re staying cool and hydrated.
Heat exhaustion can develop following exposure for several days to high temperatures. Symptoms include rapid heartbeat, cold, pale clammy skin, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.
Heatstroke, the most serious heat-related illness, is a medical emergency characterized by a body temperature of 103 degrees F or greater. Symptoms include hot, red skin, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, disorientation, delirium, and coma.
Anyone suffering from these conditions should be moved into the shade or air conditioning. If heatstroke or serious heat exhaustion is suspected, get emergency medical assistance.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]