today is National heat safety awareness day. Heat is a major weather
killer. According to the ten year National average, heat causes more
weather fatalities than lightning, tornadoes and flooding. Some of
the bigger heatwaves in history have claimed hundreds of lives. In
2012, there were 155 deaths nationwide from heat, and in the last 10
years, there have been 117 deaths on average. The most vulnerable
groups to heat are the elderly, the Young and our pets. Following a
few simple precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting
a heat related illness or disorder. The first step is knowing some
A common heat term heard in the south during the Summer is heat
index. The heat index is an apparent temperature, or a measure of
how hot it feels when the humidity is added to the air temperature.
The hotter the temperature and higher the humidity, the higher the
heat index. When the heat index reaches greater than 105 degrees
and overnight lows do not drop below the mid 70s, then a heat
advisory will be issued. Likewise, when the heat index reaches
greater than 110 degrees for two consecutive days or more and the
overnight temperatures do no drop below the mid 70s, then an
excessive heat warning is issued.
As the temperature and heat index rise, so does the likelihood for
heat disorders. Heat disorders occur when your body is unable to
shed heat either by circulatory changes or sweating. Heat disorders
can range from sunburn to heat cramps, exhaustion to the very
serious heat stroke.
When it is hot outside, here are some heat safety tips:
-slow down! Avoid performing strenuous activities during the hottest
part of the day. Wait to perform this during the coolest part, which
is usually the early mornings or in the late evening hours.
-Spend as much time as possible in air conditioned places. If you do
not have air conditioning, go to a Library, store or any air
conditioned building for the hottest part of the day.
-Dress for Summer. Wear light weight... light color clothes that
reflect heat and sunlight. This will help to maintain your body
-Drink plenty of water or non caffeinated fluids. Drink
these even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
These only work to dehydrate your body.
One of the biggest concerns regarding heat safety is from the
growing number of child deaths from hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is a
condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can
dissipate. This primarily occurs in children that have been left in
cars on hot days. The temperature inside a parked car can rise very
rapidly... as much as 43 degrees in only an hour. If the temperature
begins at 80 degrees, this can bring the car temperature to well
over 120 degrees! It has been found that even leaving windows
cracked does not significantly reduce the heating rate. This is most
severe on children because their bodies warm at a rate about 3 to 5
times faster than adults.
Since 1998, there have been 559 child deaths from hyperthermia, with
about 38 on average per year. In 2012, there were 32 child deaths
due to hyperthermia from being left in cars. Most of the deaths have
occurred in children that are less than 2 years old. This accounts
for more than half of the children fatalities from hyperthermia.
Fatalities have occurred in all but 4 states across the nation. The
most common cause of these fatalities is from being forgotten by the
caregiver, and playing in an unattended car being the second highest
cause. Per 1 million people 14 years and younger in the United
States, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana are ranked in the top
five for child hyperthermia deaths. In 2012, vehicular hyperthermia
claimed 2 children in Mississippi, 2 in Arkansas and 3 in Louisiana.
Here are ways to protect your children from being another statistic:
-never leave a child unattended in a car, even with the windows down
or even for just a few minutes.
-Teach children not to play in, on or around cars.
-Always lock car doors and trunks and keep the Keys out of The Reach
-Always make sure all child passengers have left the car when you
reach your destination, and dont Forget about sleeping infants.
-Try placing your purse or briefcase in the backseat with the child.
That way, you wont Forget about the child in the car.
-As with children, never leave your pet in the car as pets are just
as vulnerable to the heat. Just remember, beat the heat, check the
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