Hot Weather Safety
The following general information is offered as a public service to help Delmarva Power customers stay safe and healthy during hot weather. For specific information on the identification, avoidance and treatment of heat stress, please consult a licensed health care professional.
Heat stress can occur when excess heat places abnormal strain on the body. Temperature, humidity, radiant heat and air velocity affect the amount of heat stress you face. How each individual reacts to heat is affected by age, weight, fitness, medical condition and acclimatization to the heat.
Your body reacts to heat by circulating blood and raising your skin's temperature; excess heat is then released through the skin. Physical activity can raise the body's core temperature by limiting the amount of blood that flows to the skin to release heat.
Sweating also releases heat to maintain a stable body temperature if the humidity level in the air is low enough to permit evaporation, and if fluids and salts are adequately replaced.
Heat that cannot be released by the body is stored. This raises core body temperature and heart rate, potentially putting your health at risk.
Heat cramps can occur in tired muscles if you drink large quantities of water but fail to replace the body's salt. To relieve cramps, drink sports beverages or other electrolyte and salt replacers.
Heat exhaustion may develop when fluids and salt that are lost through sweating are not replaced. Primary symptoms include extreme weakness, fatigue, giddiness, nausea or a headache; other symptoms may include clammy or moist skin, a pale or flushed complexion and a slightly higher-than-normal body temperature. Someone experiencing heat exhaustion should rest in a cooler place, with the feet raised and tight clothing loosened, and slowly drink salted liquids. Heat exhaustion may rapidly turn into heat stroke, a potentially fatal condition. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek immediate medical attention.
Heat stroke is a serious and potentially fatal condition that requires immediate medical attention. Heat stroke occurs when the body's heat-regulating system breaks down, sweating stops, and body temperature rises significantly.
Signs of heat stroke include:
- Mental confusion, delirium, chills, dizziness, loss of consciousness, convulsions or coma
- A body temperature of 105 degrees F or higher
- Hot, dry skin that may be red, mottled or bluish
- A strong, fast pulse
If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call an ambulance immediately. Until medical help arrives, move the victim from the heat and into a cool place, soak the victim's clothes with water and use a fan or ice packs.
Protect Yourself from Heat Stress: Stay Comfortable and Safe
- Close all drapes/blinds on the sunny side of the house.
- Remember to drink plenty of fluids. During the warmer, daytime hours go to air-conditioned malls, libraries, movie theaters or any public place that is air conditioned.
- If a family member appears overheated, use cool compresses to cool skin. Do not hesitate to contact a physician if you have a health-related question.
- Remember to check on elderly or home-bound neighbors, who may be susceptible to the effects of heat stress.
- Spend as much time as you can in cool surroundings. Use fans and air conditioners to cool your home.
- Slow down and take it easy. Physical activity produces extra body heat.
- Wear light-weight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing made of a breathable fabric, such as cotton.
- Wear a hat or use an umbrella to protect your head and neck when you are outdoors.
- Drink plenty of water; don't wait until you are thirsty. By then, you may already be dehydrated.
- Watch what you eat. Avoid eating hot foods or heavy meals. Use your stove as little as possible (use a microwave instead) and cook during the coolest part of the day.
- Take cool baths or showers. Cool water can remove body heat 25 times faster than cool air.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and soda, as these actually dehydrate you faster. Instead, drink water or sports drinks.
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