Polk County Health Department

Take precautions outdoors and use cool nights to avoid heat related illness

This week is expected to bring record high temperatures however, cool overnight hours provide protection from heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Anyone is at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke during extreme heat but older adults, people with chronic health conditions, outdoor workers and athletes practicing outdoors are at an increased risk.

Rick Kozin, Polk County Health Department Director said, “because daytime temperatures are so high anyone working outdoors or participating in athletics is at an increased risk for heat stroke and heat exhaustion and should take precautions.”

As little as two hours in the air conditioning greatly reduces the risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion but for those who spend time outdoors follow these precautions:

  • If possible move outdoor activity indoors or to morning hours.
  • Slowly increase practice intensity and duration.
  • Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors.
  • Drink water before, during and after practice.
  • Be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

“People who are indoors can also protect themselves by taking advantage of the cool overnight temperatures by keep windows and blinds closed during the day and open at night. Use a fan to circulate air in your home, but do not sit directly in front of it because it can speed up dehydration,” said Kozin.

Signs of heat exhaustion include feeling faint, body aches, stomach pain, nausea, and elevated body temperature. Heat stroke on the other hand is an emergency situation and can be life threatening. Signs and symptoms to watch for include shock, unconsciousness, and seizures. To learn more visit www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health.

Contact Us

Phone: (515)-286-3798
Fax: (515)-286-2033

Address: 1907, Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314