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Hot weather safety tips

Statement as issued Friday by the Indiana State Department of Health:

INDIANAPOLIS – State and national weather forecasters are predicting an extremely hot weekend in Indiana, especially on race day Sunday. Whether you are going to the Indy 500 race or will be enjoying other outdoor activities this weekend, State health officials are offering hot weather tips to cope with the rising temperatures.

“We expect that a heat advisory will be in effect this weekend and it’s important that people going to the race or spending time outdoors this weekend take this seriously,” said Joan Duwve, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at the Indiana State Department of Health. “You can stay cool and safe by staying hydrated, wearing light, breathable clothing, and avoiding physically overexerting yourself.”

To avoid heat-related health problems in extremely hot weather, follow the tips below:

• Drink plenty of cool water.

• Avoid spending long periods of time outdoors during high temperatures.

• If you do not have air conditioning, go to a public location that is air-conditioned, even if just for a few hours. This can help keep your body temperature from going up too high.

• Cool down with cool baths or showers.

• Wear light, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.

• Slow down from your normal pace. Plan outdoor activities such as exercise or gardening for the coolest parts of the day, such as morning or evening.

• Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages to stay cool, as they can cause dehydration and lead to overheating.

• Close shades, blinds and curtains in rooms exposed to direct sunlight.

• Never leave children, pets or elderly persons in parked cars, even with windows cracked open.

• Check on neighbors who are elderly or disabled to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated.

When temperatures reach 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) or greater, health officials caution that overexposure to the heat can be a concern. The elderly and young children are at a greater risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Heat cramps are muscular pains in the abdomen, legs, and arms that occur from strenuous activity and increased sweating. Heat exhaustion can develop after several days of high temperatures and low fluid intake. Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke or hyperthermia, is a life-threatening situation in which the body is unable to regulate its temperature and cannot cool itself down.

If you are going to the Indy 500 race or spending time outdoors this weekend, be sure to use water-resistant sunscreen or sun block that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and provides broad-spectrum coverage against both UVA and UVB light and reapply as directed. Covering up by wearing a hat and/or sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection will also help keep you safe.

For more information about protecting yourself during extreme temperatures, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety” at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp.

To visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website, go to www.StateHealth.in.gov.

Send items for The Scoop to jgnews@jg.net.

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