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Health advisory: Protect yourself from the heat

State health officials are issuing a public health advisory to remind people to protect themselves from the heat. The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures to be in the 90s with high humidity levels this weekend.

State health officials are issuing a public health advisory to remind people to protect themselves from the heat. The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures to be in the 90s with high humidity levels this weekend.

Most heat-related illnesses involve the elderly or people with chronic illnesses, although children, athletes and outdoor workers are also at risk.

"We ask everyone to take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion, and to check on their family, friends and neighbors who may be especially vulnerable to extreme heat," said Dr. Sheri Johnson, state health officer. "Infants, young children, older adults and people with chronic disease have a tougher time regulating their body temperature. Please help them stay cool and hydrated."

And don't leave anyone or pets unattended in cars, even for brief periods. The temperature inside a car can rise to life-threatening in a matter of minutes, even with windows cracked.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include fainting, rash, fatigue, nausea, and the skin may become clammy and moist or hot and dry. You should take immediate steps to cool down if you exhibit these symptoms. Heat stroke is more severe and symptoms include dizziness, weakness, and fatigue. Call 911 if you experience these symptoms.

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To protect yourself:

  • Drink more fluids.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath to reduce body temperatures. Wet clothing has a cooling effect.
  • Spend the hottest part of the day in a cool or air-conditioned place.
  • Frequently check on the status of elderly or ill relatives or neighbors.
  • Avoid strenuous activity. If unavoidable, drink plenty of fluids and take frequent breaks in air-conditioned or shaded areas.
  • Use fans to increase ventilation, unless temperatures exceed 90 degrees. Fans become ineffective and you should seek an air-conditioned environment.

Visit the department's Web site at dhfs.wisconsin.gov for more information.

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