• By Todd Luck
  • Posted Friday, July 28, 2023

Take precautions against heat-related illness during high temperatures

Forsyth County public health officials are advising residents to take precautions during this summer’s high temperatures.

To reduce the risk of heat-related illness, health officials advise:

  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Take frequent breaks in cool, shady spots or air-conditioned places if you’re outside for an extended period of time.
  • Reduce your normal activity levels.
  • Speak with your physician about staying safe if you’re on medication that makes you more vulnerable to heat, such as tranquilizers or drugs for high blood pressure, migraines, allergies, muscle spasms or mental illness.
  • Check on neighbors and, if working outdoors, check on your co-workers.
  • Never leave children or pets unattended in vehicles, even for a few minutes. Temperatures inside a car can reach deadly levels quickly. In the United States, approximately 38 children under age 15 die from heatstroke every year after being left in a vehicle.
  • Prolonged exposure to heat can lead to dehydration, overheating, heat illness and even death. Individuals should watch for symptoms of heat-related illness, including muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, fainting, headaches, nausea and vomiting.

    Children, adults 65 and older, those without air conditioning, outdoor workers and those with chronic health conditions are most vulnerable. If you or someone you know experiences heat-related illness, move to a cool place, drink water, place cold cloths on the body and seek medical attention.

    The City of Winston-Salem has opened its Recreation Centers as Cooling Centers where individuals can escape from the heat. Forsyth County’s Public Library branches are also open seven days a week during the summer.

    Assistance is also available for qualified individuals who need help with cooling their home:

  • The Crisis Intervention Program assists individuals and families who are experiencing a heating or cooling related crisis. Residents can check eligibility and apply by calling Forsyth County Social Services at 336-703-3800.
  • Operation Fan Heat Relief offers electric fans for Forsyth County residents age 60 or older and adults with disabilities. To apply, call Forsyth Social Services at 336-703-3501.
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