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The original item was published from 6/20/2012 10:59:00 AM to 6/20/2012 1:10:08 PM.

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Posted on: June 20, 2012

[ARCHIVED] Heat Safety

City of Norwalk Urges Residents to Stay Safe and Healthy in Extreme Heat

NORWALK, Connecticut (June 20, 2012) -- As Norwalk and surrounding communities face a potential heat wave in the coming days, City officials urge residents to protect themselves from extreme heat and recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness. During heat waves, take precautions such as spending time each day in air conditioned places and checking on neighbors, the elderly, and disabled individuals.

Heat illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rash. These health effects occur primarily when temperatures are higher than 90°F and relative humidity is 60% or higher. The elderly, infants, persons with impaired mobility, psychological illnesses or alcoholism, chronic diseases, and/or those taking diuretics, antipsychotic drugs, and anticholinergic (muscle relaxants) are most at risk, but anyone can suffer from these illnesses.

Symptoms of heat stroke include a body temperature of 105° F or higher; hot, dry, red spotted skin; mental confusion; loss of consciousness; and convulsions. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and if you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately for medical help.

Heat exhaustion is due to the body losing too much fluid. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, fatigue, headache, and nausea. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can lead to heat stroke, so if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, call 911 for medical attention. Do not give salt tablets to someone who has these symptoms, because they could cause harm.

In addition to knowing the signs and symptoms and contacting a medical provider immediately for help, you can take many precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses:

• Drink lots of fluids (water, electrolyte-restoring beverages), even if you don’t feel thirsty
• Avoid strenuous activities
• Take frequent rest breaks
• Wear light, relaxed fitting clothing
• Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine
• Try to spend at least a few hours of the day in a cool environment. For example, public places that are likely to have air conditioning include Norwalk Public Libraries, shopping malls, movie theaters, and restaurants.

For more information, call the City of Norwalk’s customer service information line (203) 854-3200 or visit these online resources:
• http://www.norwalkct.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1732
• http://www.epa.gov/aging/resources/factsheets/itdhpfehe/index.htm
• http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.asp

About the Norwalk Department of Health: Under the direction of the mayor, and with valuable guidance from its six-member Board of Health, the Norwalk Health Department provides a variety of services and programs to fulfill its mission: to prevent and control the spread of disease, promote a healthy environment, and protect the quality of life within its changing community. More information is available at www.norwalkhealth.com.

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