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DC Department of Health Offers Tips to Stay Healthy During Extreme Temperatures

Friday, June 29, 2012
City health officials advise residents to take precautions as current temperatures in the District of Columbia clock in at over 100 degrees.

City health officials advise residents to take precaution as current temperatures in the District of Columbia clock in at over 100 degrees. With weekend temperatures anticipated to continue to soar, the DC Department of Health (DOH) encourages residents to do the following in order to stay safe and healthy during this period of extreme heat:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stay out of the sun
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar
  • Wear clothing that is loose-fitting, light colored and breathable, such as cotton
  • Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella
  • Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully
  • Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car
  • Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets, and leave the water in a shady area
  • If you do not have access to a cool-temperature location, visit the District recreation center, library, or senior center closest to you

Groups at greatest risk should be monitored carefully, and their environments should be regulated. The following groups at risk are:

  • Infants
  • Children up to four years of age
  • People 65 years of age and older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who are ill or on certain medications.

Heat exhaustion is treated with plenty of liquids and rest in a cool, shaded area.  Those on a low-sodium diet or with other health problems should contact a doctor. Be on the look-out for these signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Extreme weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea, or headache
  • Heavy sweating, paleness and dizziness.  Heat exhaustion

Heat stroke is a serious illness characterized by a body temperature greater than 105 degrees.  Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath or wet towels.  This is a true medical emergency, call 911.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Dry red skin
  • Convulsions
  • Throbbing headaches
  • Disorientation
  • Chills
  • Delirium and coma

Beat the Heat with these District of Columbia Cooling Centers and check-out extended District pool hours for a facility near you.

If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing a heat related illness, please call 911.  For more information on heat-related illness prevention, visit