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The original item was published from 6/29/2012 5:28:59 PM to 6/30/2012 5:16:12 PM.

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Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

Posted on: June 29, 2012

[ARCHIVED] Extreme heat and humidity demands attention for safety and health

A heat advisory is in effect for the Danville area until 8 p.m. Friday, and it will once again be in effect on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

With the arrival of the extreme heat and humidity, and the forecast for it to remain in place through Independence Day, the Danville Fire Department urges citizens to take extra precautions to stay safe and healthy.

Fire Marshal Shelby Irving said one of the most important steps is to keep watch on friends and neighbors who may not have air conditioning. Citizens should call or visit them at least twice a day, and if possible, invite them to their home.

Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. During conditions of extreme heat and humidity, spend time in locations with air-conditioning such as shopping malls, public libraries, senior centers and other public buildings.

Older adults and young children are particularly susceptible to extreme heat. They experience an elevated response to the extreme heat, and therefore they can develop heat-related illness much quicker than other segments of the population.

In addition, older adults and young children are not always able to sense and respond to the early signs of heat stress. Young children may not have the ability to communicate their body signals of thirst, for example.

Irving said Danville is more vulnerable for heat-related illnesses due to the greater number of citizens in the community who are above the age of 65 (22 percent) and under the age of 14 (18 percent).

The most common forms of heat-related illness are heat stroke, heat exhaustion and cramping. These conditions may occur with individuals who otherwise may be healthy. Heat stroke is an emergency in which the body loses its ability to cool itself. Signs of heat stroke include hot, red skin that may be dry or moist, changes in consciousness, vomiting and high body temperatures.

To respond to heat stroke, CALL 911 or go to the closest emergency room.

Heat exhaustion typically involves the loss of body fluids through heavy sweating during strenuous exercise or physical labor in high heat and humidity. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion.

Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen caused by exposure to high heat and humidity and loss of fluids and electrolytes. Heat cramps often are an early sign that the body is having trouble with the heat.

To protect your health when temperatures are extremely high, remember to keep cool and stay hydrated. Drink plenty of cool fluids -- alcohol and drinks with large amounts of sugar can actually cause you to lose more body fluid.

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