Health Department issues tips for preventing heat-related illnesses

The Milford Health Department urges all residents to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.
Be aware that any sudden change in temperature will be stressful to your body. Gradual exposure to heat gives the body time to become accustomed to higher environmental temperatures.

Heat-related illnesses in general are more likely to occur among people who have not been given time to adjust to extreme heat and who have gotten accustomed to lower temperatures. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include infants and children up to four years of age, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, and people who are ill or on certain medications.
You will have a greater tolerance for heat if you limit your physical activity until you become accustomed to the heat. People suffer heat-related illness when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded, and the body can no longer cool itself.
The Milford Health Director, Dr. A. Dennis McBride, advises that during a heat wave, extremely strenuous outdoor activities and sports be avoided, “even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.”
Dr. McBride advised that during extremely hot weather there should be preventive measures instituted so that children have a chance to get indoors for short periods of time to cool down and get a drink of water.
The Recreation Department is working with the Health Department and Milford Public Schools to organize these measures for children attending the Playground Programs. Parents are also encouraged to send their child to the playground with at least one quart of non-carbonated, non- caffeinated beverage, such as water.
The best defense against heat-related illness is prevention, health officials said. Staying cool and making simple changes in your fluid intake, activities and clothing during hot weather can help you to remain safe and healthy.
The following precautions are advised at this time:
• Increase your fluid intake – regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink fluids.
• Limit exercise in a hot environment, and drink 2-4 glasses of fruit juice or a sports beverage each hour.
• Avoid drinks containing caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar. Also avoid very cold beverages because they can cause stomach cramps.
• Stay indoors and, if possible, in an air conditioned environment. If air conditioning is not available, consider a visit to air-conditioned places such as shopping malls, public libraries, and community centers for a few hours.