Stay Safe During Extreme Heat

When it feels like an oven outside, you know it’s too hot. The extreme heat that has descended on Middle Tennessee this week is also very dangerous.

Everyone’s at risk when temperatures rise above 90 degrees, but the elderly are most susceptible to heat-related illness and death.

You can help by checking on friends and family in your community who live alone and have a chronic illness or reduced mobility and offering to drive them to an air conditioned location, if needed. It’s a great way to let those people know that someone is looking out for them.

A good rule of thumb is to reach out whenever a heat advisory or heat warning is issued or in the case of an unplanned power outage. If someone appears to shows signs of having a heat-related illness, call 911 or take them to the closest emergency room.

Symptoms to look for:

  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Warm, dry skin or pale, clammy skin
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps|
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Air conditioning is the strongest protection against heat-related illness. If there’s no A/C at home, consider visiting a shopping mall or public library for a few hours, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Cooling centers may also be available throughout the community.

You can also reduce the amount of heat inside your home with these easy-to-follow tips:

  • Use appliances and other electric devises sparingly.
  • Fire up the grill or use the microwave to avoid heat from the stove top or oven.
  • Unplug electronic devices and chargers when not in use.
  • Use cold water to rinse clothes in the washer and line dry when you can.
  • Take cooler showers and use the bathroom vent fan to remove excess humidity.
  • Close window blinds and drapes to block out the sun’s heat.