The Department of Public Health and the El Paso Fire Department are kicking off Heat Preparedness month by asking the community to prepare now and take extra precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses this summer.
“Health officials caution residents to be mindful of extreme heat not only as it affects themselves, but our most vulnerable loved ones and our pets,” officials shared.
Vulnerable populations such as those over 60 years of age and persons with underlying medical conditions are particularly susceptible to health-related illness. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- heavy sweating, cold, pale and clammy skin
- a fast or weak pulse
- nausea or vomiting
- muscle cramps
- tiredness or weakness
- dizziness, headaches and fainting
Heat stroke, which can be life-threatening, can include a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, confusion and loss of consciousness.
Anyone with the symptoms of heat stroke should call 9-1-1 and move to a cooler place immediately.
Preventing heat-related illness is key and all residents should take these precautions:
- drink plenty of non-sugared and non-alcoholic fluids (consult a healthcare provider if you need to restrict fluid intake)
- protect yourself with a wide-brimmed, loose-fitting hat that allows for ventilation and protects from the sun
- stay in air-conditioned places when possible
- reduce exercise during periods of high temperatures
- use sunscreen
- wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light colored clothing
Officials add that the “Buddy System” should also be used to ensure neighbors, loved ones and co-workers who may be elderly or at greater risk are practicing the above recommendations.
“Having a partner to assist with all activities performed outside or in hot areas can ensure that, should a heat stress injury or illness occur, proper care can be administered quickly,” officials shared.
The Extreme Weather Task Force is accepting fan donations which can be dropped off at any El Paso or Horizon Fire Stations. Those who need a fan can dial 2-1-1 to check for eligibility criteria and receive details on how to receive a free fan.
Health officials also urge residents to keep their pets safe, especially outdoor pets. Keep your pet safe this summer:
- make sure your pet is tested for heartworm
- provide proper shade
- give them plenty of fresh, clean water in a shaded area
- never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle
- do not walk your dog in extreme heat as their sensitive paw pads can burn
For more information, visit: CDC Extreme Heat Information.