Tips for Staying Cool as Temps Climb – Oregon Health Authority

PREVENT HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS THIS WEEKEND AS ADVISORIES ARE IN EFFECT

News Release from Oregon Health Authority
 July 14th, 2023

OHA offers tips for staying cool as temperatures climb to upper 90s, low 100s

PORTLAND, Ore. – With heat advisories in place due to temperatures forecast to be in the upper 90s to lower 100s around much of the state this weekend, Oregon Health Authority is reminding people to take steps to avoid heat-related illnesses.

High temperatures can seriously affect the health of older adults, infants and children, those who live or work outdoors, have low incomes, or who have a chronic medical condition. Heat waves are occurring in Oregon more than usual and at higher temperatures. This is expected to worsen in coming years.

OHA offers the following tips to stay safe and healthy during extreme heat conditions:

Stay cool.

  • Stay in air-conditioned places when temperatures are high, if possible.
  • Limit exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. when it is hottest, and avoid direct sunlight. Temperatures might stay high longer, too. Try to schedule outdoor activities in the early morning and late evening.
  • Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate. If it cools off in the morning and evening hours, close shades on south and west-facing windows during the afternoon hours.
  • Use portable electric fans to send hot air out of rooms or draw in cooler air, but don’t rely on a fan as a primary cooling device.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing to keep cool and protect your skin from the sun. Dress infants and children that way, too.
  • Use cool compresses, misting and cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Avoid hot foods and heavy meals, which increase body heat.
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car. Nor should pets be left in parked cars—they can suffer heat-related illness, too.
  • Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 when going outside.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors several times a day. Heat-related illnesses can make it hard to think clearly. This means people may be in danger without realizing it. Make sure loved ones have what they need to stay cool.

Stay hydrated.

  • Regardless of your level of activity, drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty and especially when working outside.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

Stay informed.

  • Keep up to date on the heat risk and heat index when planning your activities so you can find ways to stay cool and hydrated. The heat index measures how hot it feels outside when factoring in humidity with the actual air temperature.
  • Learn how to prevent, recognize and treat heat-related illnesses.
  • Heat-related illness can develop in as little as 10-15 minutes. It can happen indoors. Watch for headache, dizziness and nausea. Check on your family and friends often.
  • Some heat-related illnesses can be managed at home or urgent care. However, if you or someone you see is experiencing confusion or unconsciousness due to heat exposure, call 911. It is a medical emergency.

Other ways to stay cool without an air conditioner:

  • Air conditioners can help you stay cool, but not everyone has one. Visiting friends with an air conditioner or going to cooling centers in your community can help you stay cool.
  • In addition to cooling centers, local houses of worship and libraries may be open to the public during times of extreme heat. Splash pads and shopping centers can also be places to cool off during the day.
  • Drinking plenty of cool water helps keep you from getting dehydrated. Drink more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Water is also great for cooling you off when it’s hot, but not humid. Drape yourself with a damp towel, take a cool bath or shower or take a dip in a fountain. These actions can help cool you off in a hurry and work better when it’s not humid.
  • When it gets hot, close the shades or curtains, or put towels up over the windows, particularly on the sides of the house that face the sun.
  • If you have a cooler part of the house, such as a basement, spend time there during the hottest parts of the day.

For more information, visit OHA’s website: www.oregon.gov/heat

Contact 211

During periods of extreme heat, counties often open cooling spaces for local communities to seek relief from high temperatures which will be listed here, by county, based on the information shared with 211info by the shelter providers. Opening hours are based on specific counties’ and individual agencies’ criteria.

Methods to contact 211:

  • CALL 211 or 1-866-698-6155 or TTY: dial 711 and call 1-866-698-6155, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • TEXT your ZIP code to 898211 (TXT211), Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • EMAIL help@211info.org, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to5 p.m. (Language interpreters available by phone; text and email in Spanish and English)

211 Summer and Heat-Related Resources, including listings of cooling centers

If there is a shelter that is not listed, or information that needs to be edited, please email 211’s resource team: support@211info.org.

During times of emergency incident response, 211info’s answer rate may vary

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