Maine CDC/DHHS Advises Preparation for High Heat
July 5, 2013
The Maine CDC has issued a Maine Health Alert Network Advisory:
The CDC's message is reproduced in part below. Visit the Maine CDC's Health Alert Network page to download the entire message.
Maine CDC/DHHS Advises Preparation for a Hot Holiday Weekend
Parts of Maine are experiencing hot weather over the July 4 Holiday weekend. The high heat combined with high humidity will result in a “heat index” approaching 100 for some areas in southern and southwestern Maine. The “heat index” is a measure derived from both temperature and humidity that describes how hot it feels. These conditions may last well into the weekend, making it difficult for the many Mainers without air conditioning to get relief from the heat. Statewide, nearly a half of Maine homes do not have any air conditioning.
Extreme heat can be dangerous, and the Maine CDC is advising healthcare and service providers and public health professionals to check on vulnerable individuals in their care, be ready to recognize and respond to heat illness, and give prevention guidance to patients and clients.
Check on Vulnerable Groups
Some groups of people, like those listed below, are more likely to experience illness from heat and should take extra precautions to keep cool. If you are a caregiver for someone in these groups, check on them frequently, make sure they have access to air conditioning, and watch for signs of serious illness. In general, encourage them to drink more fluids. If you are a health care provider, be prepared to advise patients who have fluid restrictions on appropriate fluid intake.
- Older adults (age 65 and older)
- Infants and young children
- People with a mental illness or who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- People who work outside
- Pregnant women
- People with mobility restrictions
- People with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure
- People taking certain medications, such as anti-cholinergics, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, or diuretics
- People living in poverty and who are homeless
Recognize Heat Illness
Recognize and treat the signs of heat-related illnesses as early as possible to prevent serious illness and death.
Heat stroke is the most dangerous heat illness. Warning signs include hot, dry, red skin, no sweating, rapid pulse, body temperature above 105° F, headache, loss of alertness, confusion, rapid and shallow breathing, and unconsciousness or coma. If you see someone with these signs, call 911 immediately and move the person to a cool or shady place, loosen their clothes, and cool them rapidly with ice, fans, cool water, or wet cloths.
Heat exhaustion is less severe than heat stroke, and usually occurs when people over-exert themselves in high heat and humidity. Symptoms include heavy sweating, fainting, vomiting, cold, pale, and clammy skin, dizziness, headache, nausea and weakness. Move the person to a cool place, have them drink fluids and rest, loosen their clothes, and cool them off with water or wet cloths. Heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heat stroke. If symptoms worsen or do not improve, get medical help.
Other heat-related conditions include: heat cramps, dehydration, sunburn and heat rash.
More information on these groups is available at Maine CDC’s Heat Illness page: