The County Press

Lapeer County health director cautions vulnerable citizens during excessive heatFree Access

LAPEER TWP. — Lapeer County Medical Director Dr. Mark Hamed has issued a health statement regarding the excessive heat forecast for Wednesday that may set records in southeast Michigan. Highs tomorrow are expected to reach 97 degrees, but with the humidity it will feel like 105 degrees.

A cold front is expected to move through southeast Lower Michigan Thursday morning that may bring a line of showers and storms through the area likely before sunrise. That front will eventually cool things down, but it will happen slowly — which means Lapeer County and the region may still see 90 degrees on Thursday after the scattered morning rain and thundershowers.

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for seven counties in southeast Michigan for Wednesday through Thursday morning. While Lapeer County and Thumb-region counties are not within the watch area, the hot weather will impact Lapeer County as well and Hamed wants area residents — especially the elderly and parents with infants to be particularly careful if they don’t have access to air conditioning or other means to cool themselves.

Having limited or no access to air conditioning during humid days (even when temperatures are not excessively high), said Hamed, can lead to increases in heat-related illnesses. Children and senior adults are generally considered more vulnerable to high heat. However, younger adults aged 18-34 have had higher emergency department rates for heat-related illness in Michigan. Hamed released the following suggestions listed below for people to cope with the high heat and humidity:

To prepare for extreme heat:

  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, blinds or awnings to reduce the amount of heat that enters your home.
  • Check on family members or neighbors who are elderly, young, sick or have other health risks, as they are more susceptible to excessive heat. Never leave a child or pet in an enclosed vehicle.
  • Ensure pets have cool housing areas and plenty of water.

To prevent heat illness:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks that cause dehydration.
  • Wear clothing that allows good air circulation.
  • Limit vigorous activity.
  • If outside, avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade.
  • Try to schedule outdoor activities during the morning or evening hours to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Hamed said it’s important to know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness, and recommended first aid steps. Some of these symptoms and steps are listed below.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps may be the first sign of heat-related illness, and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke.

  • Symptoms: Painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen and heavy sweating.
  • First Aid: Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gently massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water unless the person complains of nausea, then stop giving water. Seek immediate medical attention if cramps last longer than one hour.

Heat Exhaustion

  • Symptoms: Heavy sweating, weakness or tiredness, cool, pale, clammy skin; fast, weak pulse, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, headache, fainting,
  • First Aid: Move person to a cooler environment, preferably a well air-conditioned room. Loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths or have person sit in a cool bath. Offer sips of water. If person vomits more than once, seek immediate medical attention if the person vomits, symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour

Heat Stroke

  • Symptoms: Throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, body temperature above 103°F, hot, red, dry or damp skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting, loss of consciousness.
  • First Aid: Call 911 or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Delay can be fatal. Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment. Reduce body temperature with cool cloths or bath. Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s. A fan can make you hotter at higher temperatures. Do not give fluids.