Protect Your Children and Family from the Summer Heat
From 1979 -2002, excessive heat exposure caused 8,966 deaths in the United States. During this period, more people in this country died from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined. Because most heat-related deaths occur during the summer, and because weather projections for this year indicate a hotter-than-average summer, people should be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. At greater risk are the elderly, children, and people with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease. However, even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather as a result of dehydration and increased body temperature.
Some behaviors also put people at greater risk: drinking alcohol; taking part in strenuous outdoor physical activities in hot weather, and taking medications that impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit the natural body cooling mechanism, sweating.
Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.
The best defense against heat is prevention.
Here are some prevention tips:
If you or your children must be out in the heat: