Pennsylvanians Reminded of Precautions for Extreme Summer Heat
The Wolf administration is asking Pennsylvanians to take steps to keep themselves and their loved ones, including pets, safe from potentially deadly heat-related illnesses with temperatures expected to climb into the mid-90s.
Infants and children, older adults, and people suffering from illness may have trouble responding to extreme temperatures. Taking certain medications also affects how the body responds to heat.
People are urged to follow these safety tips to avoid heat-related illnesses:
- Drink plenty of water and do not wait until you are thirsty to drink more fluids;
- Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar, as they can cause dehydration (loss of body fluids);
- Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible – this is the best way to protect against heat-related illness and death;
- Avoid long periods in the direct sun or in unventilated rooms;
- If you must be outside in the heat, reschedule activities for cooler times of the day, and try to rest often in shady areas;
- Dress in light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses – and use a sunscreen of SPF15 or higher;
- Take frequent baths or showers and remain in a cool place;
- Check on those who might be more at risk from high temperatures like infants, children, or older individuals; and
- Never leave your children or pets inside vehicles.
For infants and children, remember:
- Never leave infants or children in a parked car.
- Even when it feels cool outside, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly.
- Leaving a window open is not enough - temperatures inside the car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes, even with a window cracked open.
- Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the most common heat-related illnesses. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. Warning signs include extreme body temperature, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness and confusion. If you or loved ones develop heat stroke symptoms, get medical assistance right away. Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting.
Livestock and pet owners should also take action to protect their animals from high temperatures. Heavier, fattened livestock, those with dark coats, and chronic health conditions are at the greatest risk for stress from heat.
Signs of stress in livestock include:
- Animals bunching together
- Heavy panting
- Lack of coordination
If you see any of the following heat exhaustion signs in your pet, seek immediate veterinary care:
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
- Abnormal tongue color
Pet owners are also asked to not leave animals in vehicles. A car's interior temperature can rise within minutes, creating suffocating temperatures that lead to animal health problems and often death. When pets are outdoors, be sure they have access to shade and plenty of fresh, clean, cool water. Animals kept indoors should have proper ventilation.
Additional tips to help pets and livestock deal with the heat:
- Provide shade; move them to shaded pens if possible.
- Provide water; the hotter it is, the more water they should drink (providing a sprinkler can also help them to cool down).
- Don't overwork livestock; it's safest to work with livestock in the early morning when body temperatures are low.
- Postpone routine procedures (such as vaccination, hoof trimming, dehorning) until the weather cools.
- Avoid unnecessary transportation; if livestock must be moved, do so in the late evening or early morning hours.
- Take dogs for early morning or late-evening walks.