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The Red Cross offers tips to beat the heat

BUFFALO — Soaring summer temperatures have hit Western New York, and the American Red Cross has released a list of heat safety tips for residents to follow.

– Never leave children or pets in a car. The inside temperature of a car can quickly reach up to 120 degrees.

– Stay hydrated, by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

– Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors, because they absorb the sun’s rays.

– Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise, during the hottest part of the day.

– Postpone outdoor games and activities.

– Use a buddy system, when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks, when working outside.

– Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, spend much of their time alone or are more likely to be affected by the heat.

– Check on animals, to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water.

– People whose houses do not have air conditioning should choose cooler places to go, during the warmest part of the day.

Excessive heat can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

If a person is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, move him or her to a cooler place, have him or her rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish fluids with a half a glass of cool water, every 15 minutes.

If a person is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, which include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, a headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness or exhaustion, move him or her to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing, spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin.

If he or she is conscious, administer small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 911 or the local emergency number.

Heatstroke is life-threatening. Signs include hot, red skin, which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately, if someone shows signs of heatstroke. Move the person to a cooler place and quickly cool the person’s body, by immersing him or her in cold water, if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

For more information on what to do when temperatures rise, visit www.redcross.org, download the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist, or download the free Red Cross First Aid app, which is available for iPhone® and Android® smartphones.
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