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During the summer months, temperatures can reach dangerous levels. With the heat index, temperatures can be particularly hazardous for children, the elderly and those with special needs and pets. In addition to discomfort and fatigue, extremely high temperatures can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The Polk County Health Department urges individuals to take the following precautions during this very hot and humid weather:

  • Two hours of respite in air conditioning can prevent heat-related illness and death from extreme heat.
  • Check on family, friends, neighbors, and clients who do not have air conditioning and assist with plans for taking precautions.
  • When working outdoors take frequent breaks, drink cool water/liquids, and find shade. Employers should monitor outdoor workers for signs and symptoms of heat stress.
  • Drink more water than usual. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink more fluids.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Limit outdoor activities and events during the mid-day. Schedule workout and practices earlier or later in the day.
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car. Nor should pets be left in parked cars—they can suffer heat-related illness too.
  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates regularly.
  • Always call 911 in case of heat-related illness - heat stress, heat exhaustion or heat stroke can result in death.

Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke identification symptoms

This information was provided by the Polk County Health Department and Polk County Emergency Management. The heat and stroke graphic was sourced from NOAA.