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The original item was published from 6/20/2012 1:10:00 PM to 6/20/2012 1:10:15 PM.

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Posted on: June 20, 2012

[ARCHIVED] Heat Safety

STAY SAFE DURING EXTREME HEATCooling Centers are Open; Residents Should Take Health Precautions During Extreme Heat

As Norwalk and surrounding communities face high temperatures and hot weather in the coming days, City officials urge residents to protect themselves from extreme heat and recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness.

The following tips from the Norwalk Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management can help you stay cool during the hot days ahead:•Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
Drink water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body. •Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.
Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 and 7 a.m.•Stay indoors when possible. If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Remember that electric fans do not cool, they simply circulate the air.
Be a good neighbor. During heat waves, check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning. •Never leave persons, especially children, and pets in a closed, parked vehicle.Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.•Cooling centers: If no air conditioning or fans are in your home, access the City’s cooling centers. The following cooling centers in Norwalk will be open today, Thursday, and Friday for residents seeking cool spaces: Norwalk City Hall (125 East Avenue) and Norwalk Public Libraries (1 Belden Avenue or 10 Washington Street). Call 203-854-3200 for more information about cooling centers.

High temperatures experienced in the summer months increase the risk of several serious health effects. Heat illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rash. 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.

For more information, call the City of Norwalk’s customer service information line (203) 854-3200 or visit these online resources:
• Norwalk Summer Safety Tip Sheet: http://www.norwalkct.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/3428• Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/aging/resources/factsheets/itdhpfehe/index.htm
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.asp

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