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Health officials say Idaho has its first heat-related deaths this year • Idaho Capital Sun
Health officials say Idaho has its first heat-related deaths this year • Idaho Capital Sun

The health department has reported the first two heat-related deaths in Idaho this year. Both deceased Idaho residents were over 60 years old.

“Please take care when you go outdoors this summer,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, medical director of the Idaho Department of Health, in a news release announcing the deaths. “Drink plenty of fluids, wear sunscreen and a brimmed hat, and be aware that temperatures can rise sharply during the day this time of year, even if it’s cool in the mornings.”

Hahn urged people to stay safe as temperatures are expected to rise to over 35 degrees Celsius or nearly 38 degrees Celsius this weekend, particularly in the southern part of the state.

Anyone can get a heat-related illness, the press release said. However, those particularly at risk are young children, the elderly and people who are overweight, have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking certain medications that affect the body’s ability to stay cool.

Be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and know how to treat them.

The most serious heat-related illness is heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.

Symptoms may include:

  • high body temperature
  • hot red skin
  • Confusion or seizures
  • Nausea, dizziness and fainting

If someone is showing these symptoms and cannot get medical help quickly, health authorities urge you to call 911 immediately. Move to a cooler place and use cool, wet cloths or ice on the head, neck, armpits and groin, or soak clothing with cold water or give a cool bath to lower body temperature. Speed ​​cooling with a fan. Do not give a person with heat stroke anything to drink, as they may not be able to swallow properly and could inhale the liquid instead of swallowing it.

Heat exhaustion may occur before symptoms of heat stroke, health officials said in the release. Symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, irritability, thirst, headache, nausea, muscle cramps and cold, clammy skin. Someone experiencing these symptoms should go to a cool place, wear loose clothing, use cool cloths or a cool bath to lower body temperature, and drink cold water frequently. Get medical help right away if vomiting starts, symptoms get worse, or symptoms last for more than an hour.

The best ways to prevent heat-related illnesses, according to health authorities, are to cool down and drink plenty of fluids.

How to prevent heat-related illnesses:

  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
  • Limit outdoor activities to the coolest morning and evening hours.
  • If your heart starts racing and you’re gasping for air, stop the activity and move to the shade.
  • Avoid hot and heavy meals
  • Drink plenty of fluids – at least a glass of water every 15-20 minutes during moderate activity lasting less than two hours. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Avoid alcohol and drinks high in caffeine or sugar
  • Replace salt and minerals with a low-sugar sports drink. Talk to your doctor first if you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Reapply sunscreen if you are outdoors for more than two hours.

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