KDHE: Health And Safety Tips For Persons Affected By Storms

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The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is providing health and safety information to protect residents in the wake of Wednesday evening's storms in central and northeast Kansas:

Heat-related illness: Follow these steps to minimize the risk of heat-related illness:

* Drink plenty of fluids; especially water. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, which dehydrate the body. Drink at least a gallon of water a day when spending time outdoors.

* When working in the heat, wear sunscreen, sunglasses and loose, light-colored clothing whenever possible. Take frequent breaks to cool off.

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* Friends, relatives and neighbors of elderly people should periodically visit them during the summer months and take them to a cooler environment if needed.

* Create airflow in hot indoor work areas, but be cautious when using portable generators (see below).

How to Recognize Heat-related Illness:

Watch for signs such as faintness, dizziness, cramps, headache, chest pain and/or breathing problems. Heat stroke, the most severe form of heat related illness, is considered a medical emergency. Heat stroke is characterized by headache, hot and dry skin, temperature of 103 degrees or higher, rapid and shallow breathing, disorientation and changes in consciousness. The person should be cooled quickly with cold, wet sheets or a cool bath and taken to the nearest medical care facility.

Carbon m onoxide (CO) poisoning: Generators and gasoline engines are often used when there are power outages. CO is a poisonous gas is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, and generators. CO cannot be seen or smelled and can kill in minutes. Tips to avoid CO poisoning:

* Never run a generator or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.

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