Heat Stress & Heat Stroke

Be aware of yours and other’s risk for heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and fainting.

To avoid heat stress, you should:MC900217602

  • Drink a glass of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes and at least one gallon each day.
    *Avoid alcohol and caffeine. They both dehydrate the body.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Take frequent cool showers or baths.
  • If you feel dizzy, weak, or overheated, go to a cool place. Sit or lie down, drink water, and wash your face with cool water. If you don’t feel better soon, get medical help quickly.
  • Work during cooler hours of the day when possible, or distribute the work load evenly throughout the day.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat illness. It happens when the body can’t control its own temperature and its temp rises rapidly. Sweating fails ad the body cannot cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency care is not given.

Warning signs of heat stroke vary but can include:

  • Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness, nausea, confusion, or unconsciousness
  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F.)

If you suspect someone has heat stroke, follow these instructions.

  • Immediately call for medical attention.
  • Get the person to a cooler area.
  • Cool the person rapidly by immersing him/her in cool water or a cool shower, or by spraying cool water on the individual.
  • Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101 – 102 degrees.
  • Do not give the person alcohol to drink.
  • If emergency medical personnel do not arrive quickly, call the hospital ER for further assistance.


Lightning Risk Reduction

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

Lightning Safety

There is little you can do to substantially reduce your risk if you are outside in a thunderstorm. The only completely safe action is to get inside a safe building or vehicle. You are not safe anywhere outside.

Run to a safe building or vehicle when you first hear thunder, see lightning or observe dark threatening clouds developing overhead. Stay inside after you hear the last clap of thunder. Do NOT seek shelter under trees. If you are camping, go to your vehicle! A tent or picnic shelter are NOT safe places.

Plan Ahead!

Listen to your weather station on your radio or check your cell phone for weather forecasts.  Always have a emergency lightning safety  plan in place especially if you are with a group so you can have extra time to get everyone to a safe place.

If you are stuck outside, avoid water. Seek clumps of shrubs or trees of uniform height. Seek ditches, trenches or the low ground. Seek a low, crouching position with feet together with hands on ears to minimize acoustic shock from thunder.

On the Water

The vast majority of lightning injuries and deaths on boats occur on small boats with NO cabin. It is crucial to listen to weather information when you are boating. If you are out and cannot get back to land and safety, drop anchor and get as low as possible. Large boats with cabins, especially those with lightning protection systems properly installed, or metal marine vessels are relatively safe. Remember to stay inside the cabin and away from any metal surfaces. Stay off the radio unless it is an emergency!

Stopping Activities

In general, a significant lightning threat extends outward from the base of a thunderstorm cloud about 6 to 10 miles.  Thunder can usually be heard at a distance of about 10 miles away depending on background noise. Traffic, wind, and precipitation may limit the ability to hear thunder at that distance. Stop your outdoor activities and go inside a building away from windows and doors and anything that conducts electricity such as corded phones, wiring, plumbing, and anything connected to these.  Above all else, don’t kid yourself – you are NOT safe outside.


Home Safety: Prevent Childhood Poisoning

The How and Why of Childhood PoisoningPoison Help Line

More than half the calls received by most poison centers across the country involve children under the age of six. Usually these poisonings result in mild or no symptoms, but there is potential for severe injury or even death.

Most often, children are poisoned in their own homes. The top four reported reasons why children accidentally poison themselves are:

  1. Poisons are not stored properly. Commonly used products left in the open where they can be seen are the No. 1 reason children get poisoned. Recently used medication bottles left on the counter or table, purses or diaper bags sitting on the floor, opened cleaning products left unattended for “just one second,” can all lead to poisonings.
  2. Children are curious. Children are naturally curious about the taste, smell and texture of products. By swallowing, smelling or spraying a product children learn more about it. It’s how they learn about their world. Brightly colored liquids, spray containers, pills, leafy or flowering plants attract children.
  3. Children think a poison is something other than a poison. Because they look similar, children can think fuels, cough syrup, and shampoo are actually safe to drink, like fruit juice or soft drinks.  Medicine tablets look and taste like candy. Antifreeze tastes sweet. Red mouthwash looks like fruit juice.
  4. Lastly, children imitate the behavior of adults. They copy what their parents or grandparents do, such as taking medication, or drinking colored liquids. Children will check out house cleaning products, spray chemicals, fertilizers, anything that is within their reach.  Parents need to be aware and take good care to keep these items in a safe place. Teach children that poisons can look and smell like something good (and safe), but in reality can be extremely harmful.  Hopefully, by better understanding why childhood poisonings occur, they can be prevented. Adults need to decide what safety measures can be incorporated at home, in hopes of providing a safer environment for kids.

Minnesota Poison Control