Extreme Heat

Normally, when you get hot, your body cools itself by sweating. But when it is very hot and humid, sweating just isn't enough. In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs and even cause death. Signs of heat illness

People who work outdoors, older adults, those with underlying health conditions, and small children are most at risk during heat waves. It is important to check on elderly family and neighbors and to encourage them to use air conditioners at home.

What You Should Do

  • Check on friends, family, and neighbors during extreme heat;
  • Call 211 to find a cooling center in your area, or visit http://www.riema.ri.gov/coolingcenters/index.php

  • Drink plenty of fluids (avoid alcohol and caffeine);
  • Never leave a child, a disabled or elderly person, or a pet in an unattended car. A closed vehicle can heat up to dangerous levels in as little as ten minutes;
  • Seek medical attention immediately for anyone showing signs of heat stroke.

When Outside

  • Stay out of the direct sun. Seek shaded or air-conditioned areas;
  • Pace yourself when you exercise;
  • Schedule outdoor events early in the morning when it's cooler and the air quality is better;
  • Wear light-colored, light-weight clothing. Use hats with brims and sunscreen (SPF 30 or more) for more protection;

When Inside

  • If your home lacks air conditioning, open windows, use fans, and keep shades or curtains drawn the during the day;
  • Take cool showers or baths;
  • When it is cooler than 95°F, open windows on opposite sides of the home, then use an electric fan to pull cool air into the living space and a second fan to blow hot air out. This creates a cross-breeze.
  • Avoid cooking hot food indoors during the day when it’s hottest;
  • Unplug large electronics, such as televisions, that produce heat.

At-Risk Populations

  • Babies and young children;
  • The elderly
  • People with chronic conditions;
  • People who are obese;
  • Athletes;
  • Outdoor workers;
  • People of low socio-economic status;
  • People living on the coast or in flood zones.