Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

Marion County Public Health Department and the Department of Public Safety Confirms First Two-Heat Related Deaths in Marion County

Indianapolis- On Saturday, July 7, 2012, a 92-year-old male was found dead inside his home that was closed up and not ventilated with only a fan available and a 54-year old male was found dead outside near his residence in extreme heat.

The Marion County Public Health Department and the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security continues to remind residents to protect themselves during the upcoming extreme temperatures. The heat will continue through the week. Although we will not reach the thresholds to put the extreme temperature plan into full force, the temperatures will remain high.

"We want to encourage people to limit your time outside in the heat of the day between 11am and 6pm unless they absolutely have to, plus remember to stay hydrated," said Indianapolis Division of Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons.

Exposure to extreme heat can result in work-related illnesses, injuries and sometimes death. Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps or heat rashes. Elderly people, infants, chronically ill, overweight people and persons on certain medications are most susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

"The threat to senior citizens is heightened because they generally do not sweat as efficiently as younger people, thus making it more difficult to adjust to high heat and humidity," said Dr. Virginia A. Caine, Marion County Public Health Department Director. "Never leave infants, children, pets, elderly, or disabled persons in parked cars under any circumstances even with the windows cracked open. Temperatures in parked cars can rise to greater than 100 degrees within 15 minutes. Be a good neighbor and check on the disabled, home-bound, people who have a mental illness, or seniors who do not have family members close by, at least twice a day and make sure that they have air conditioning, water for drinking, and taking cool baths and showers. Please monitor them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke."

Fans may provide comfort but alone do not offer appropriate cooling when the humidity is high. When temperatures rise to the high 90's fans simply blow more hot air and can increase body temperature. If you use a fan place it in or next to a window. Do not use a fan in a closed room without open windows or doors. People who do not have air conditioning are encouraged to seek out air-conditioned environments. The Indianapolis pools are open on Sunday. Go to www.indyparks.org for hour hours.

Warning Signs:

Decreased energy, loss of appetite, dizziness, feels faint, nausea, heavy sweating

Serious Signs:

Vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, trouble breathing, throbbing headache, weakness, muscle cramps, hot dry skin and confusion

First Aid:

If a person appears to be in trouble, immediate emergency medical care should be obtained by calling 9-1-1. Get the person to a cool shaded area. Remove any extra clothes. Cool the person with a fan or sponging or spraying them with water.

Precautionary Steps:

  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton
  • Cut down on exercise
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and putting on sunscreen SPF 15 or higher
  • Schedule heavy work during the coolest part of the day
  • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity
  • Take breaks in the shade or cool area when possible
  • Do not drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar
  • Drink water frequently
  • Drink enough water that you never become thirsty
  • Approximately 1 cup of water every 15-20 minutes
  • Monitor your physical condition

Persons with concerns about the safety of others, or wanting additional information about the extreme weather conditions, can contact the Marion County Public Health Department at 221-2141.

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