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How to Keep Cool and Stay Safe During a Heatwave

Local weather officials have issued a heat advisory for a majority of Massachusetts over the next few days, an oncoming heatwave is set to leave temperatures feeling higher than 100ºF. Because of these harsh conditions, it is important to know how to properly take care of yourself and recognize when something is wrong. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body’s core temperature goes above 105ºF, and it lacks the water necessary to cool itself down. The young and the elderly are both especially susceptible to heatstroke, as well as people with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke sound very similar but come with some very serious distinctions. Heat exhaustion is symptomized by dizziness & confusion, loss of appetite, excessive sweating, fast breathing, and a temperature over 100ºF. Drinking water and resting in a cool place is an effective way to bring your body back to a neutral state in the event of heat exhaustion. Heatstroke, on the other hand, is much more serious. Categorized by a lack of sweating (despite heat), muscle weakness, nausea, throbbing headache, shallow breathing, and even seizures. Heatstroke is considered a medical emergency and you should contact 911 immediately if you suspect someone may be suffering from it.

How to identify Heat Exhaustion? (Heat Exhaustion will not be dangerous if you cool down within 30 minutes) 

Here are a few common symptoms to help identify heat exhaustion in yourself and others:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • Excessive sweating and pale skin
  • Fast breathing or pulse
  • A high temperature of 100℉ and above

How to identify Heatstroke?

Heatstroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency. Heatstroke mainly affects people over the age of 50 but can affect many different ages as well. If you suspect someone has heat stroke call 911 immediately. 

Symptoms of heatstroke include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness and cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Seizures 

How to keep pets cool during this heatwave?

Keep pets inside in the air conditioning as much as possible or near a fan. You do not want to keep your pet in an area that is hotter than 80℉. Try to time your walks around the peak heat times of day and check the pavement with your hand before a walk. If it is too hot for you to keep your hand there for more than a few seconds, it is too hot to walk your dog. Also, avoid keeping your dog alone in a hot car because they can overheat very quickly.

Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include:

  • Vomiting, diarrhea, thick saliva, not responding to their name, staggering, deep red tongue and brick red gums. 

Currently the Nahant Public Library remains open with A/C this summer. Feel free to stop by and enjoy the cool air, water, and endless selection of books. Hours listed below:

Monday: CLOSED

Tuesday: 10AM-7PM

Wednesday: 10AM-5PM

Thursday: 10AM-8PM

Friday: 10AM-5PM

Saturday: 12PM-4PM

Sunday: CLOSED

Heatstroke is considered a medical emergency! If you or someone you know are experiencing symptoms of heatstroke, please call 911.