Author Archives: markschaaf

Stay safe during the heat

Stay safe during the heat

As summer rolls on, Central Oregon residents should take care to avoid the risks of extreme heat.

Extreme heat conditions pose a higher risk for children, people age 65 and older, those with chronic health conditions, and athletes and outdoor workers. Heat-related illnesses can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The Oregon Public Health Division offers the following tips for staying safe and healthy during extreme heat:

  1. Stay cool.

    • Stay in air-conditioned places, if possible. Avoid relying on a fan as your main cooling device, particularly when the temperature is 90 or above.

    • Limit exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest. Try to schedule activities in the morning and evening.

    • Use cool compresses, misting, and cool showers and baths.

    • Never leave infants or children in a parked car. Nor should pets be left in parked cars — they can suffer heat-related illness, too.

    • Even during the summer, the power can go out. Have a plan to stay cool when the power goes out.

  2. Stay hydrated.

    • Regardless of your level of activity, drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty and especially when working outside.

    • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar.

    • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors drink enough water.

  3. Stay informed.

    • Keep up to date on the temperature and heat index when planning activities to find ways to stay cool and hydrated. The heat index measures how hot it feels outside when factoring in humidity with the actual air temperature.

    • Learn how to prevent, recognize, and treat heat-related illnesses. Know the warning signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash, and how to treat and prevent them.

    • Be aware of any scheduled power outages your utility company plans. If you do not have air conditioning or you live outdoors, visit air-conditioned places or a cooling shelter if your community has one.

  4. Stay safe.

    • Check on friends, family and neighbors who may have a higher risk of heat-related illness at least twice a day.

    • Always supervise children when they are in or near water, including bathtubs.

    • Wear personal flotation devices when out on boats, near open bodies of water or participating in water sports.

    • Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 when going outside.

People with a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or kidney disease, may be less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Some medications can worsen the impact of extreme heat. People in this category should learn the effects of their medications and pay extra attention to drinking enough water, accessing air conditioning and knowing how to keep cool.

Those who work outdoors or exercise in extreme heat are more likely to become dehydrated and get heat-related illness. They should try to stay as cool and hydrated as possible.

For more information, visit:

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