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July 13
​Wake County EMS Offers Tips to Stay Safe in Scorching Temps

With the heat index expected to climb to triple digits this week, Wake County EMS reminds residents to follow simple guidelines to stay safe.

“These high temperatures pose a real risk—but heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable,” said Jeff Hammerstein, assistant chief, Community Outreach, for Wake County EMS. “There are things residents can do to keep themselves, and their loved ones, safe during extreme heat.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 618 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year. More people in the United States die each year from extreme heat exposure than from any other weather-related cause including hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined.

Heat illness can range from dehydration to muscle cramping to more serious, and in some cases deadly, conditions such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Warning signs include:  

  • Thirst
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Concentrated or dark-colored urine
  • Nausea and muscle cramping
  • Decreased performance
  • Dry lips and tongue

To prevent heat-related illnesses, Wake County EMS advises residents to:

  • Never leave children in cars. Even with a window cracked open, cars heat up very quickly. According to the National Weather Service, 51 young children died in hot cars in the United States in 2019.
     
  • Stay hydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks. If you’re on a special diet, consult your doctor.
     
  • Stay inside. If you can, stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. Limit your outdoor activity to the morning and evening hours when it’s the coolest. Check on the elderly, sick and those without air conditioning.
     
  • Monitor those at high risk. Heat-related illnesses can happen to anyone, but some are at greater risk, including infants, young children and people who are 65 and older. Those who are overweight or physically ill are also more susceptible.
     
  • Take breaks. If you work outside, stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade as often as possible.

And don’t forget your pets—leave them at home and make sure they have plenty of water and shelter. More pet safety tips can be found here

More information about extreme heat and tips for how to stay safe as the temperatures soar can be found here

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