RALEIGH — As North Carolina approaches summer, health officials with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services are urging citizens to take extra precautions against heat-related illnesses.
“It is critical for people to take preventive action since North Carolina summers can be dangerously hot,” said Dr. Randall Williams, state health director. “Whether you are outside for work or recreation, gardening or attending outdoor festivals and events, make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids to risk of heat-related illness.”
Symptoms of heat-related stress and illness include muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, fainting, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and can be avoidable with proper precautions. Children, older North Carolinians, outdoor workers, and those with chronic health conditions are most vulnerable to illness during the hot summer months.
To reduce risk of heat-related illness:
• Drink plenty of fluids
• If spending multiple hours outside, take breaks in cool or air-conditioned environments
• Speak with your physician about how to stay safe if you take medicines that make you more vulnerable to heat, such as drugs for high blood pressure, migraines, allergies, muscle spasms, mental illness and tranquilizers
• Reduce time spent outside during the hottest part of the day, usually 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
In addition to these steps, Operation Fan/Heat Relief offers some people 60 or older, or people with disabilities, the opportunity to receive one fan per year to help alleviate heat problems in their home.
For more information on how to prevent heat-related health issues and to learn about heat-related illness in N.C., visit http://publichealth.nc.gov/chronicdiseaseandinjury/heat.htm.