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Delaware Health and Social Services

DHSS Press Release

Date: July 27, 2012

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498


Prepare to stay cool in dangerously hot weather

Delawareans should prepare to stay cool in dangerously hot weather today. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the Delmarva Peninsula (with exception of the Delaware Beaches) through early evening.

A heat advisory means that a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures will occur. The heat, combined with high humidity, will result in a hazardous situation in which heat-related illnesses could result.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) lists a number of precautions to take in order to safeguard health during the heat advisory; including staying in contact with elderly relatives and neighbors to make sure they stay safe in the summer heat.

People should also be aware of the heat danger warning signs and take recommended actions; heat cramps can occur in the muscles of the limbs or abdomen during or after physical activity in high heat. Sweating results in loss of fluids and salts that cause muscle cramps. Address heat cramps by resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water.

Heat exhaustion is more severe, occurring when a person is overheated along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms may include:

  • dehydration
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • clammy skin
  • headache
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
  • irritability
  • fainting

Take these steps for heat exhaustion:

  • Move person indoors or into shade
  • Loosen or remove clothing
  • Encourage the person to eat and drink
  • Get person to a cool shower or bath
  • Call your doctor for further advice

Heatstroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself. Since heatstroke can be life threatening, prompt medical treatment is required. Overdressing and time spent in hot vehicles can lead to heatstroke. Symptoms may include:

  • flushed, hot, dry skin with no sweating
  • high body temperature (above 103 degrees F, orally)
  • severe, throbbing headache
  • weakness, dizziness, or confusion
  • sluggishness or fatigue
  • decreased responsiveness
  • loss of consciousness

Take these steps for heatstroke:

  • Call 911
  • Get the person indoors or into shade
  • Get person to a cool shower or bath
  • Give fluids

Residents without access to air conditioning can avoid overheating by seeking air-conditioned public places such as stores, malls, theatres and libraries. Health officials also recommend drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated, and wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

Temperatures in cars can climb dangerously high very quickly in the summertime heat. Never leave another person or a pet in a car for an extended period of time.

"It's important to take prevention steps before you experience symptoms of heat-related illness," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "Drink water early and often during heat waves and take cooling breaks regularly."

Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that those who work out of doors schedule frequent breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Last Updated: Friday July 27 2012
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