Emergency Management

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Extreme Heat

During the summer months, temperatures can reach dangerous levels. With the heat index, temperatures can be particularly hazardous for children, the elderly and those with special needs, and pets. In addition to discomfort and fatigue, extremely high temperatures can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. To protect yourself, your family and your neighbors, please familiarize yourself with the following terms and symptoms.

In Extreme Heat

  • Stay out of the sun. If you must be in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15).
  • Avoid overexertion and strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes that cover as much skin as possible to prevent sunburn.
  • Consume plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids. Water, diluted juices and electrolyte solutions are best. Stay away from carbonated drinks.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • If you are on a fluid-restricted diet or taking diuretics, consult your doctor.
  • Stay in the shade or under awnings as much as possible.
  • Keep rooms well ventilated with air conditioners and fans. Keep your windows open if you don't have a fan or air conditioning.
  • Cool down with periodic cool baths or showers.
  • Take advantage of city cooling centers, public pools and air-conditioned stores and malls.
  • Never leave children, the elderly, or those who require special care periods of intense summer heat.
  • Make a special effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are seniors, young children, and people with special needs or live alone.
  • Seniors and others who may be sensitive to extreme heat should contact friends, neighbors, or relatives periodically throughout the day.
  • Seek help if you feel symptoms of heat-related illnesses.

Contact Us

Polk County Emergency Management
1907 Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314
(515) 286-2107

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