LAS VEGAS – The days of triple digit temperatures are here and the Southern Nevada Health District reminds visitors and residents alike to stay safe and healthy this summer. An excessive heat watch is in effect later this week and daytime temperatures are expected to reach 110 degrees during the weekend. There are actions that everyone can take to stay safe during the summer. Additional information is available on the Health District’s Heat Safety page.
High summer temperatures can be harmful to older people, children, or those with a chronic medical condition. Health information about heat safety is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, CDC Extreme Heat.
Homebound or older adults should establish a buddy system with family or neighbors to check in on them periodically during excessive heat events. It is recommended that people remain indoors during the hottest times of day and stay in air-conditioning as much as possible.
The CDC and the Health District advise everyone to stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed during heat warnings and throughout the summer. Check with the local weather service or local news for updates on heat watches and warnings.
The Health District reminds Valley residents and visitors to take precautions this summer:
Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15; reapply at least every two hours or less; apply it to ears, scalp, lips, neck, the top of the feet, back of the hands; apply a minimum of 20 minutes before any sun exposure.
Wear wide-brimmed hats (not baseball caps) and sunglasses with UV protection.
Wear tightly woven clothing (not tight fitting) with high SPF protection to block out light. (If you can see your hand through the fabric, it offers very little protection against the sun’s UV rays). Clothing can be loose fitting, but cover as much skin as possible.
Limit or avoid exposure to the sun, especially for long periods of time. Rest in the shade.
Bring an adequate supply of water if plans include extended outdoor activity. Drink plenty of water at regular intervals, regardless of activity level. Do not wait until you feel thirst.
If unaccustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, start slowly and gradually increase the pace.
Limit alcoholic beverages and eat well-balanced, light meals.
Check on the status of homebound neighbors and relatives.
Caution: Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restrictive or low-salt diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake or changing what they eat and drink.
Additional tips to stay cool to avoid heat-related illnesses:
Stay in air-conditioning as much as possible
Find an air-conditioned shelter if necessary
Do not rely on a fan as a primary cooling device
Avoid direct sunlight
Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing
Take cool showers or baths
Southern Nevada’s high summertime temperatures and sunshine can present challenges for locals and visitors. There are several types of heat-related illnesses that can range from moderate to severe and dangerous:
Sunburn is damaging to the skin and can be severe enough to require medical attention.
Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children.
Heat cramps generally affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. The body is depleted of salt and moisture. A low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are the elderly, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment.
Heat stroke can be a life-threatening emergency. Immediately begin cooling the victim and call for medical assistance.