The heat is on: Do you know the dangers of heat illness?

The heat is on: Do you know the dangers of heat illness? »Play Video

ROSEBURG, Ore. - The average high temperature ithis time of year is 84 degrees.

But it's not going to be that cool again until at least Saturday - and some parts of the Umpqua Valley could hit triple digits.

County health officials say there are important things to remember to help prevent heat-related illness.

"You need to remember to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water," said Dawnells Marshall, public health director for Douglas County. "When it's really hot, it's better to drink water than those beverages that contain a lot of caffeine. And it's not just adults, but young children and some of our seniors that might not have the most stable electrolyte systems in their body."

Marshall said if you have nausea, a rapid heart rate or seizures, contact emergency medical professionals: those are are all symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

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Forecasters encourage the elderly and others susceptible to heat illness to watch weather forecasts as temperatures heat up this week and weekend 

Symptoms of Heat-Induced Ailments

• Dehydration – thirst, less frequent urination

• Prickly heat bumps - irritating skin rash

• Cramps - painful muscle contractions

• Edema – swelling of hands and feet

• Exhaustion / Fatigue – characterized by clammy skin, paleness, dizziness, nausea, fever, and headache


Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Seek immediate medical help if you or someone else develops the following symptoms. Heat Stroke is the most severe heat illness and is a life-threatening situation.

• Lethargy, sluggishness

• Rapid heart rate and breathing

• Confusion, disorientation, agitation, irritability

• High body temperature

• Intense muscle aches, fever, diarrhea or nausea

• Convulsing, fainting, seizure, loss of consciousness



Caring for a Heat Stroke Victim Until Help Arrives

While you are waiting for help to arrive you can assist the person by doing the following:

• Get the person out of the heat to a cooler environment. Take them indoors if possible.

• Fan the person with a newspaper or towel to cool the body.

• Loosen or remove clothing and sprinkle the skin lightly with water.

• Elevate feet to direct blood flow back toward the head.

• If available, apply icepacks to the groin area or armpits.


Risk of Heat Related Illness

Some people are at greater risk than others to suffer heat-related illness:

• Infants and young children

• People aged 65 and older

• Those persons who are physically ill, or have heart disease or high blood pressure

• Those persons who must work in / wear protective equipment: helmets, respirators, heavy clothing

How to Beat the Heat – The Do's and Don'ts:


• Use air conditioners or spend time in air-conditioned locations such as malls and libraries

• Use portable electric fans to exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air

• Take a cool bath or shower

• Minimize direct exposure to the sun

• Stay hydrated – regularly drink water or other nonalcoholic fluids

• Eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods such as fruit or salads

• Wear loose fitting, light-colored clothes

• Check on older, sick, or frail people who may need help responding to the heat

• Limit exercise to moderate activity and rest whenever necessary

• Exercise during cooler periods of the day such as the early morning or late evening hours

• Consult your health care provider or pharmacist to see which medicines are affected by excessive heat conditions

• Know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.


• Direct the flow of portable electric fans toward yourself when room temperature is hotter than 90°f

• Leave children, the elderly or pets alone in cars for any amount of time

• Drink alcohol, or drinks that contain caffeine or large amounts of sugar to try to stay cool

• Eat heavy, hot, or hard-to-digest foods

• Wear heavy, dark clothing

• Exert yourself excessively