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Health Officials Urge Heat Precautions

June 24, 2009
 
This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) wants to remind all Mississippians to take basic safety measures when spending time outdoors in hot summer weather. Heat-related illnesses can occur when the body’s temperature reaches elevated levels for an extended period of time. These illnesses can be easily prevented with some simple precautions.

Unprotected skin can be harmed by ultraviolet (UV) rays in as little as 15 minutes, yet it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effects of sun exposure. Serious sunburns, especially during childhood and adolescence, can increase the chances of developing malignant melanoma, one of the most serious forms of skin cancer and the one that causes most skin cancer-related deaths. Contact a physician if there is a change in the color, size or shape of moles and warts as this may be a sign of cancer.

Heat StrokeHeat stroke occurs when the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Heat ExhaustionHeat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after long exposure to high temperatures and inadequate water. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment.

Mississippians can protect themselves by taking the following precautions:

  • Seek shade, especially during midday when UV rays are strongest and do the most damage. Avoid direct exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Cover exposed skin with clothing. Loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • Relax and avoid strenuous activity.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck. UV rays can reach anyone on cloudy and hazy days as well as bright and sunny days.
  • Wear sunscreen with SPF-15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as much UVA and UVB rays as possible. Sunglasses protect both the eyes and tender skin around the eyes from sun exposure.


For more information on heat and safety call the MSDH toll-free at 1-866-458-4948 (1-866-HLTHY4U).
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Last reviewed on Jun 24, 2009
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U web@HealthyMS.com

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