July 16, 2010
The heat wave that Tulare County is currently experiencing is making everyone uncomfortable, but individuals with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma and other lung conditions can be especially sensitive to these extreme temperatures.
“The body’s normal response to heat can be adversely affected by chronic health conditions,” said Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County Health Officer. “Many medicines prescribed for chronic conditions such as depression, insomnia, and poor circulation, impair the body's ability to control temperature or inhibit perspiration.”
Additionally, our current air quality is a serious factor, and air quality actually worsens during a heat wave, affecting individuals with chronic health conditions even more. Those with asthma or other respiratory illnesses are urged to monitor their respiratory health, and seek medical treatment as needed.
The best defense against heat related illness is prevention. Extreme heat tips include:
1. Stay indoors and avoid extreme temperature changes.
2. Limit activity indoors and out of doors.
3. Drink a lot of water or other fluids but avoid coffee, soda with caffeine, tea and alcohol.
4. Use electrical fans to circulate cool air at home and at work.
5. Wear light-colored, light-weight loose fitting, cotton clothing.
6. If the power fails go to a friend’s house, local business, or a local "cooling center".
7. If feeling ill, attempt cooling measures before seeking medical attention such as moving to a cooler area, minimizing activity, drinking fluids, and using cool wet cloths to cool the body.
8. Seek medical attention if symptoms such as heavy sweating, cramps, weakness, dizziness, nausea, confusion, throbbing headache, or rapid heart rate develop.
9. Contact the electric company about payment options for electric bills. Use available air conditioning when needed.
These safety tips are not a substitute for medical care. If symptoms of heat-related illness occur, contact your physician immediately, or call 9-1-1.
For more information on heat preparedness and cooling center information, visit the Tulare County Health & Human Services website at www.tularehhsa.org, and click on the tab titled “Emergency Services”. For information by phone, call the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency at 559.624.8000 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. – noon on Friday.