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New Hampshire

July 17, 2013

DHHS: Extreme heat can be serious

CONCORD — With the forecast for the week predicted to be 90 degrees and above for many regions of the state, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is reminding people to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

In an effort to help people seek relief from the heat, cooling centers have been opened around the state. To find out if there is a cooling center near you, call 211. People are reminded they can also seek relief in air-conditioned places such as a mall, grocery store, movie theater or library.

“Heat-related illnesses can come on quickly,” said NH Public Health Director Dr. Jose Montero, “and we may not even recognize the symptoms. There are some simple common-sense precautions to take to keep yourself and your family safe during extended periods of heat. This is especially important for children and seniors who are more at risk for heat-related illnesses. Whenever possible stay inside air-conditioning, drink plenty of fluids — water is best, avoid caffeine and alcohol and large amounts of sugar, wear light clothing and limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day.”

When the body is unable to cool itself sufficiently by sweating, the body temperature rises and people begin to experience symptoms indicating distress. Cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and/or fatigue are symptoms of heat exhaustion, which generally occurs when people exercise or work in hot, humid conditions and body fluids are lost. If the person does not take action, with cool beverages, seeking air conditioning, rest, and removing heavy clothing, heat stroke can result.

The symptoms of heat stroke include red skin that is hot to the touch; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing.

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