St. Joseph County Health Department issues extreme heat advisory

(Photo provided/St Joseph County Health Department)

The St. Joseph County Health Department has issued an extreme heat public health advisory which can be found below.

Public health advisory on extreme heat:

Due to high daily temperatures and the heat index expected to reach over 100 degrees over the next several days, the St. Joseph County Health Department is issuing a public health advisory. Exposure to extreme heat outdoors or the inability to cool down indoors can cause serious, life-threatening health issues. The St. Joseph County Health Department would like to remind the public to take the following important precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries:

• Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose loose, lightweight, light-coloured clothing.
• Stay cool indoors: Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, go to the mall or the public library. Even a few hours in the air conditioning can help keep your body cool when you return to the heat.
o Keep in mind: electric fans can provide comfort, but when the temperature reaches 90°C, they will not prevent heat-related illnesses. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool down. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
• Plan your outdoor activities carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activities to cooler times, such as the morning and evening hours. Rest often in shaded areas so your body has a chance to recover.
• Take it easy: Reduce exercise in the heat. If you’re not used to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slow and gradually increase the pace. If exertion in the heat makes your heart race and leaves you out of breath, STOP all activity. Get to a cool or shaded place and rest, especially if you become dizzy, weak, or passed out.
• Wear sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself and can make you dehydrated. If you must go out, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and applying sunscreen SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going out. Keep reapplying it according to the directions on the package.
• Don’t leave children in cars: Cars can reach dangerous temperatures quickly, even with the window ajar. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of heatstroke or death.
o When traveling with children, remember to do the following:
▪ Never leave babies, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are ajar.
▪ To remind you that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled up, place the plush in the front with the driver.
▪ When you leave your car, make sure everyone is out of the car. Don’t neglect any child who fell asleep in the car
• Avoid hot and heavy meals: they add heat to your body!

• Drink plenty of fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait to be thirsty to drink.
• Stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks, as they actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
o Warning: If your doctor limits the amount you drink or gives you diuretics, ask them how much you should drink in hot weather.
• Replace salt and minerals: heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose through sweating.
o If you follow a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk to your doctor before drinking a sports drink or taking salt tablets.
• Keep your pets hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets and leave the water in a shaded area.
• Know the signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.
o Use a buddy system: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your colleagues and ask someone to do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or pass out.
o If you are elderly, ask a friend or relative to call you throughout the day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day. Infants and young children need more frequent monitoring.
• Watch out for high-risk people: Although anyone, at any time, can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are more at risk than others:
o Infants and young children
o People aged 65 or over
o Overweight people
o People who overexert themselves during work or exercise
o People who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or taking certain medications, such as depression, insomnia, or poor circulation

Community centers in the city of South Bend are open as chill-out spaces as well as local libraries. See below for locations and hours of operation.

• Charles Black Community Center, 3419 W Washington St., South Bend, IN 46619
o Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday
• Howard Park Event Center: 604 E Jefferson Blvd., South Bend, IN 46617
o Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Saturday, 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Sunday
• Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 1522 W. Linden Ave. South Bend, IN 46628
o Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturday
• O’Brien Fitness Center
o Opening hours: 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
• Pinhook Community Center
o Hours: Usually by appointment, but someone is normally in the building around 8:00 a.m.

For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov and stay up-to-date by following the St. Joseph County Health Department on social media ( Facebook and Twitter).


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