Thursday, June 3, is Heat Awareness Day.

Heat is the #1 weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year.

It is NEVER safe to leave a child, disabled person, or pet locked in a car on a hot day. 24 children died in hot cars in 2020 and one toddler already has died this year in April. In the United States, 883 children have died due to Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH) since 1998. More than half of those deaths were children under the age of two.

On a 90* day, in just ten minutes, the interior of a vehicle can heat up to 109*. Since 1998, seven children died in hot cars in Iowa.

The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.

When your sweat evaporates off of your body, it does a good job reducing your temperature, but when it’s humid outside, your sweat won’t evaporate as fast ---- and your body will feel warmer in humid conditions.

Heat-related illnesses:

Heat cramps may be the first sign of heat-related illness and may lead to heat exhaustion or stroke. Symptoms include painful muscle cramps along with heavy sweating. The National Weather Service says that you should seek immediate medical attention if cramps last longer than one hour.

If you are suffering from Heat Exhaustion, you may feel weak or tired and have pale, clammy skin. You may also feel dizzy and even vomit, or faint. Treatment includes moving to a cooler area, preferably an air-conditioned room. Apply a cool, wet towel or washcloth.  Again, seek immediate medical attention if your symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.

Heat Stroke can involve a throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, hot, red, dry, or damp skin, rapid and strong pulse, fainting, loss of consciousness. Call 911 or get to a hospital immediately. Heatstroke is a severe medical emergency and can result in death. Do NOT give fluids.

Using a fan to blow air in someone’s direction may actually make them hotter if heat index temperatures are in the 90s.

Safety Tips

Slow down. Outside or strenuous activities should be reduced or moved to the coolest time of the day.

Lightweight and light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.

Certain foods (like proteins) increase water loss. Watermelon, strawberries, and cantaloupe are good examples of something to eat on hot days as they each contain over 90% water.

Drink plenty of water or non-alcoholic and non-sugary beverages. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty even if you don't feel thirsty.

Spend more time in air-conditioned places.

Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.


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