According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), extreme heat events, or heat waves, are a leading cause of extreme weather-related deaths in the United States. With the impact of climate change, heat-related deaths continue to rise.
Heat stress is a type of a heat-related illness, caused by the body’s inability to cool down properly. A very high body temperature may damage vital organs, including the brain. It ranges from milder conditions to the most serious heat-related illness, heat stroke, which can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Everyone can be at risk for a heat-related illness. Seniors, especially, are more prone to heat-related illness because they are more likely to have chronic medical conditions and take prescription medicines that can affect normal body responses to heat. According to National Safety Council, other groups that have higher risks are infants and young children (especially if left in hot cars), those with existing medical conditions such as heart disease, who are overweight and those who are ill or on certain medications.
Download our Heat-Related Illnesses PDF to know about the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness and what to do if you or your loved one shows signs of having it.
So remember to:
- Stay cool
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area
- Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source when it’s really hot outside
- Avoid direct sunlight
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing
- Take cool showers or baths
- Stay hydrated
- Drink more water than usual
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink (if you are on fluid restriction, ask your doctor how much you should drink during hot weather)
- Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar
- Stay informed
- Check your local news so you can be updated for extreme heat alerts and safety tips
- Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness
Let’s all enjoy the summer season and share this safety message to everyone!
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