NOAA reports the summer of 2018 was the fourth hottest on record in the US. They also predict areas such as Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Maryland may record breaking temperatures in 2019. Alaska already hit a record 90 degrees on Independence Day.
As the mercury rises it is very important we all take extra precautions outdoors. Heat stroke and deaths from excessive heat exposure do occur, especially during prolonged heat waves. Follow these tips to safely beat the heat this summer.
Stay Indoors As Much As Possible
Try to regulate your body temperature by using a fan or air conditioning. Keep windows and doors closed and take a cool shower or bath if you still can’t cool off. Even if your home feels stifling, it’s much hotter outside. You’ll not only feel the temperature, but the sun on your body too.
If humidity is also high, it amplifies the danger. The body can’t cool itself as easily when the air is laden with moisture. The NWS Heat Index suggests when it is 92F at 85% percent relative humidity it feels like it is 126F, which poses an extreme danger.
Your body expends water when it’s hot, because it’s trying to cool your body. As a result, it is very important you continually top up your body’s water supply. Avoid alcohol when it’s hot – it dehydrates, instead of nourishing your body.
Skip Strenuous Activities
Don’t head to the park for a serious game of football when it’s very hot outside. If you must work in the heat, take plenty of breaks in the shade and drink lots of water!
Choose loose clothing from natural materials. Light colors reflect the light, but dark ones absorb UV rays and can make you even hotter. Don’t forget to wear a hat and sunscreen, too.
Special Care for Kids & Pets
They have smaller bodies and are much more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Ensure they drink plenty of liquids, keep them out of direct sunlight, and never leave them in an unattended vehicle.
According to Lives Science, about 37 children die annually after being left in hot cars. When it’s hot outside, the interior temperature can reach 117 degrees in just one hour.
In the past dozen years over 450 children have died from hyperthermia after being left in or gaining access to unattended cars.
Signs of Heat Illness
Unfortunately, many people don’t take heat risk seriously. Heat illness and heat stroke are serious conditions that require attention. Otherwise, they can lead to lead to brain and body damage, or even death.
If you spot any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1. If possible, move the individual to a shady area and lower their body temperature by fanning them or applying cool compresses. Have them sip on water if they’re able.
- Hot, dry skin
- Heat cramps or muscle spasms
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pains
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Very high temperature (up to 105F)
Of course, the best way to avoid heat illness and heat exhaustion is through prevention. Tune-up your air conditioner and buy your fans before the summer heat strikes. If you’re unprepared, stay indoors and take a cool shower or head to the movies to catch the latest film while enjoying the air conditioning.