Take Time to Cool Off while Temperatures are High

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This week is expected to remain hot. As a precaution, Public Health welcomes residents to take a break from the heat in the County Human Services atrium, 555 Towner in Ypsilanti, during business hours (8:30 am to 5:00 pm). Bottled drinking water will be available starting Wednesday morning.

No formal emergency response is activated at this time, but health officials encourage everyone to take steps to avoid heat-related illness. The risk of heat-related illness increases when temperatures remain high for multiple days.

Stay hydrated, cool off whenever possible and know the warning signs of severe heat-related illness. Seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 if heat-related illness is suspected. Older persons, infants, children and persons with underlying health conditions or who take certain medications may be more sensitive to the hot conditions. Outdoor work or physical activity may increase the risk of illness.

Use this link to see a list of other area organizations willing to let residents cool off during their normal business hours.

Local Response Plan

The Washtenaw County Heatwave Community Response Plan has not been activated at this time. An emergency response is typically only activated if a heat advisory remains in effect for multiple days or if an excessive heat warning is issued by the National Weather Service. A widespread loss of power or other complications may also activate the local Heatwave Response Plan.

If it becomes activated, designated public cooling centers will open for extended hours and emergency transportation will be available. Public Health is conducting surveillance of heat-related illnesses and will issue public information through the media, as needed. For official updates, visit http://publichealth.ewashtenaw.org, call 211 or listen to WEMU 89.1 FM.

Prevent Heat-Related Illness

Heat illness can occur when the body is unable to cool down. The body normally cools down by sweating. During extremely hot weather, sweating may not be enough to cool the body.

  • Use an air conditioner or go to a cooler place - even briefly. Spending a few hours a day in air conditioning can reduce your risk for heat-related illness.
  • Drink extra water to stay hydrated. Avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Avoid outdoor exercise and physical activity during the hottest part of the day. Or, reduce or eliminate any outdoor activities during a heat wave.
  • Stay out of the sun. If you must be in the sun, wear thin and light-colored clothing, a hat and sunglasses. Wear sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
  • Check on family, neighbors and friends. Help them get to a cool place if necessary.
  • Never leave children, older adults or pets in parked vehicles. Vehicles heat up very quickly and can become dangerous, even with the windows open.

Heat Stroke

The most serious heat-related illness is heat stroke. It occurs when the body cannot regulate its temperature.  A person’s body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher in 10 to 15 minutes. The person will be unable to sweat or cool down. Warning signs may include:

  • body temperature of 103°F or higher
  • red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • rapid, strong pulse
  • throbbing headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea, confusion or unconsciousness

Call 911 for immediate medical assistance if heat stroke is suspected. Cool the victim, if possible. If the victim’s muscles are twitching uncontrollably, do not give him or her liquids.

Other, less-serious heat-related illnesses include:

  • Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can progress into heat stroke. Heat exhaustion may require medical attention.
  • Heat cramps are muscle pains or spasms that may occur with strenuous activities.
  • Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather.

For more information on heat-related illness, visit www.ewashtenaw.org/heat.

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