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With the forecast for the week predicted to be 100 degrees and above for many regions of Oregon, Douglas County Public Health is reminding people to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion.

Oregon Health Authority has been implementing “ESSENSE” a new health surveillance system in hospital emergency rooms.  This system collects data on hospital emergency room admissions.  After the last high heat wave in June and early July, ESSENSE data was used to see the impact of heat related illness and drowning cases that ended up in hospitals in Oregon.

Drowning increased two to three times compared to normal historical numbers.  The number of men and women going to the emergency rooms increased as they became affected by heat.  The report showed that the number of men reporting to the emergency rooms increased by 45% to 55% indicating that they were being affected more by the heat.  As a result of the new ESSENSE report, Douglas County Public Health wants to emphasize that high temperatures can have serious affects on the health of the community.

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and claiming more lives than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined. The most vulnerable individuals are those who work or exercise outdoors, adults over 65, infants and children under 4, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition.

Take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Helpful links

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:





  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.  
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day.  If they do not have air conditioning, then arrange to take them some place that does until the temperature drops to more friendly temperature.


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  • Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends, and neighbors are drinking enough water.
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• Check your local news for extreme heat warnings and safety tips.

• Keep your friends, family, and neighbors aware of weather and heat safety information.

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