Summer heat is here, and while it’s easy to complain about it being hot, extreme heat can also be a real danger. High humidity, which is common in Arkansas, combined with extreme heat force the body to work harder to maintain a normal temperature. Exposure to high temps can push the human body beyond its limits.
According to the CDC, extreme temperatures are the top weather-related cause of death in the United States, more than floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards. An extend period of extreme heat defines a heat wave, and these conditions can be dangerous for those who are not prepared or aware.
Sickness can occur if someone has been in extreme heat for too long or individuals who over-exert themselves in the heat. The heat can be more dangerous for older people, the very young, those who are overweight and those who have chronic medical conditions.
As the temperatures climb this season, you can take steps to keep your family safe and healthy this summer.
Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. When the body temperature gets too high, you may feel dizzy, throw up, have a headache, feel weak and have accelerated breathing. Get to a cool place, drink cool beverages, take a cool shower or bath and rest to cool down. If body temperature is above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, seek medical assistance for heat stroke.
Avoid parked cars in the heat. Never leave children or pets in parked cars. The temperature inside rises dangerously fast, as much as 20 degrees in 10 minutes and 40 degrees in 50 minutes, even when the windows are cracked.
Drink extra water. Don’t wait until you are thirsty – thirst is a sign of dehydration. Provide extra water to children and pets, as well.
Avoid being outdoors during the hottest part of the day. Move activities inside to an air-conditioned space when possible. Limit outdoor activities to morning and evening hours where the heat is less intense.
Wear appropriate clothing. Lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing is a better choice than dark-colors that absorb the sun’s rays.
Stay in air-conditioned areas when possible. If you do not have air-conditioning in your home, seek out public spaces such as libraries. Fans are not a reliable cooling source when temperatures are above 90 degrees.
Information provided by the CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.html