Staying safe during the coming heat wave - WNEM TV 5

Dangerous Heat

Staying safe during the coming heat wave

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The high heat could bring dangerous conditions, especially for children and the elderly around Mid-Michigan.

The sweltering wave of heat and humidity is prompting warnings and advisories all over the country, even the president is urging Americans to stay safe.

President Obama posted on Twitter saying, “The map says it all. Stay safe as it heats up – drink water, stay out of the sun and check on your neighbors.”

Mary Reinke spends hours with her grandson on the banks of the river but with the hot temperatures expected, she said she will draw the line for their safety.

"If he's sweating, or just the fact that he's in the sun for quite a while, I just say, we either put more sunscreen on, make sure we have liquid, or just limit the amount of time we're out in the sun,” Reinke said.

This awareness is something Dr. Jeff Ozan said is key to keep yourself and loved ones safe during hot spells. The McLaren Bay Region Emergency Room doctor said the body will give warning signs of heat exhaustion.

"First you're going to be thirsty, then you're going to get a headache, possibly even dizziness, nausea, vomiting, it could even progress to passing out,” Ozan said.

Ozan said it could be even worse and lead to heat stroke.

"If the heat stroke progresses, it can progress to death,” he said.

The doctor said young kids and older people are more susceptible to the heat.

"Hydration, hydration, hydration. Stay out of the sun, keep cool,” Ozan said.

Reinke said with the dangerous heat, she'll probably reel in her grandson from the bay for the next couple of days.

"I think when it's that hot, a lot of times, we really don't come. We go back and swim in my swimming pool,” she said. 

Effects on the body

Rising temperatures can not only make you thirsty and sweat, but there are also more serious problems to worry about after prolonged exposure. 

With this hot spell expected, doctors are warning of dangers your children or older loved ones can face the next couple of days. 

Dr. Jeff Ozan at McLaren Bay Regional said heat exhaustion or even heat stroke are a very real possible and could be deadly if you don't pay attention to warning signs. 

When outside for an extended time, some symptoms could be an indicator you need to get inside or in the shade and get fluids in you. 

"First you're going to be thirsty, then you're going to get a headache, possibly even dizziness, nausea, vomiting, it could even progress to passing out."

Ozan said body signs are important to watch for. The heat typically impacts children and the elderly the most. He said if something does not seem right, or if hydration is not working, it's time to get them to the hospital. 

Water or sports drinks?

When the heat rises to these dangerous levels, staying hydrated is one of the most crucial things to remember. Water is the obvious solution but sports drinks are also intended to quench your thirst.

Is one really better than the other?

The answer is not as clear as say, water.

Health experts said the choice between H20 and sports drinks comes down to the activity you are doing, and how intense it is.

The basic guideline for most people is that if you are doing continuous exercise for 60 minutes or less, water is just fine.

Beyond an hour, you should consider a sports drink, because sports drinks contain electrolytes, carbs, water and even sodium, which the American Council on Exercise said is the most important thing the body needs during strenuous activity.

Bottom line, if you’re sweating a lot, a sports drink is the way to go.

If you’re just plain thirsty, grab a water instead. 

If you work outside

When temperatures hit the 90s, most us like to take a dip in the pool or do some fun-in-the-sun activities. However, when you work every day in the sun, like construction workers, staying safe in the hot heat has to be the number one priority.

The Occupational and Safety Health Administration, or OSHA, recommends drinking water every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty.

They also suggest resting in the shade when you can to cool down and wearing a hat and light colored clothing.

If you can, take it easy on your first days of work in the extreme heat to let your body get used to the conditions.

It’s also important to eat the right foods. Stay away from greasy, high fat foods.

OSHA also recommends resting up. Get plenty of sleep to prepare for those 90 degree days.

It's a good idea to keep an eye on your co-workers to make sure everyone is staying cool.

Heat exhaustion can creep up on you before you know it.

According the CDC, symptoms of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, weakness and cold pale skin.

Protecting your pets

Heat stroke is not only a threat to humans, but also to our pets as well.

The humane society is urging pet owners to check on them often when the heat gets high.

While many recommendations may seem obvious to most, they serve as a good reminder to everyone when the mercury rises to dangerous levels.

First and foremost, never leave your pet in a vehicle when the weather is hot.

Just as it's dangerous for humans, the temperature inside of a car can quickly rise.

Even a few minutes can be deadly.

Heat stroke is a real danger for pets, especially dogs.

Check your pet often for symptoms like heavy panting, glazed eyes, lethargy, dizziness and vomiting.

Just as humans need to stay hydrated, so do our four-legged friends.

Keep your pet's water dish full and fresh and often throughout the day.

Whether you have four legs or just two, experts said you should stay out of the sun during peak hours between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

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