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Rhode Islanders Reminded About Heat Precautions

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is reminding all Rhode Islanders about safety tips to keep themselves healthy and safe during extreme heat.

"Extreme heat can be a serious issue," said Governor Dan McKee. "With the temperatures we are expecting, people should be checking on each other, staying well hydrated, limiting their exposure to the heat, and watching for signs of heat-related illness. A few small steps can help people stay healthy and safe this week."

Normally, when you get hot, your body cools itself by sweating. However, when it is very hot and humid, sweating isn't enough, and your body temperature can rise very quickly. High temperatures can cause heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or heat cramps. Certain populations are at increased risk for heat-related illness during periods of extreme heat. These populations include babies and young children, people who are pregnant, children and teens with asthma, older adults, people who work outdoors, and people with chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity).

When you are outside during extreme heat:

- Stay out of the direct sun. Try to stay in shaded areas.

- Wear a hat with a brim and wear sunscreen for protection.

- Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine.

- Pace yourself when you exercise.

- Schedule outdoor events early in the morning, when it is cooler and the air quality is better.

- Wear light-colored and light-weight clothing.

When you are inside during extreme heat:

- Use air conditioning or fans, windows, and shades or curtains to keep your house cool.

- Take cool showers or baths. Avoid cooking hot food indoors when the day is at its hottest.

- Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine.

- Never leave children, pets, or older adults in unattended cars during periods of extreme heat.

Watch for warning signs: Check on friends, family, and neighbors during periods of extreme heat. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; cold, pale, and clammy skin; nausea or vomiting, tiredness; dizziness; or headache. If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, move them to a cool place and remove unnecessary clothing; put a cool, wet cloths on their body (neck, under the arms and groin); use a fan; and have them sip water or a sports drink. Call medical help (911) if symptoms get worse or last longer than one hour.

Cooling centers: Some cities and towns have cooling centers open to those who need shelter during periods of extreme heat. To find a cooling center, call 2-1-1 or visit: https://riema.ri.gov/planning-mitigation/resources-businesses/cooling-centers

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