Know how to handle the heat
As temperatures rise this week, the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support reminds folks to learn how to handle the heat. Heat-related illness happens when the body isn’t able to cool itself. Seniors, small children, and people with physical disabilities are the most vulnerable to heat-related illness, but everyone should take steps to stay safe in extreme heat.
The Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support works closely with other local jurisdictions and the Minnesota Department of Health to help folks prepare for extreme heat events. Minneapolis has an emergency plan that is used to respond when a heat advisory or warning is called by the National Weather Service. The plan is coordinated with a metro-wide notification plan that reaches out to agencies that serve vulnerable populations.
Tips for preventing heat-related illness:
- Drink more fluids. Drinking fluids helps your body cool itself. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Don’t drink liquids with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. They can actually cause your body to lose more fluid.
- Never leave any person or animals in a closed, parked vehicle.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitted clothing.
- Check on your neighbors who may be at risk. Visit seniors and other vulnerable neighbors at least twice a day and look closely for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Seek medical advice immediately if you notice nausea, weakness, disorientation, rapid pulse and dry skin.
- Stay indoors if you can. Air conditioning is your best defense against heat-related illness. If you must be outside, try to limit your activity to morning and evening hours, take frequent breaks in the shade, drink plenty of fluids, and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen.
- Don’t rely on an electric fan. Electric fans may seem to provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Using wet cloths or a spray of mist on exposed skin will help cool your body temperature.
For more information on heat-related illness and how to prevent it, visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s site at and click on "staying healthy during hot weather" under "hot topics."
June 23, 2009
Published Jun. 23, 2009