How to Stay Cool During a Heat Advisory with Triple Digit Heat Index
Ron Rhoades has told us that the Tristate is under a heat advisory with a heat index of 105-110 degrees. You don't need me to tell you just how dangerous that can be but I've done some homework to find out how you can make sure that you reduce your risk of heat related illness or even death. According to the Center for Disease Control,
Extreme heat caused 7,415 heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 through 2010
It is especially dangerous when temperatures get high here in the midwest after the kind of rains we've had lately as it raises the humidity. High heat and high humidity are dangerous because our body's primary cooling function cannot work properly. Humans sweat to cool ourselves but it isn't the sweat itself that cools the body - it's the evaporation of that sweat that helps regulate the bodies temperature. When it is excessively humid, the sweat evaporates much more slowly so the body cannot cool itself effectively or efficiently. The CDC says those at highest risk are people over 65, children under the age of 2 years old and those suffering from chronic disease or mental illness but according to the CDC, even healthy individuals can succumb to heat related illness, especially if they take part in activities that are strenuous. So how can you keep yourself safe? The CDC offers these suggestions:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area. 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, and using air conditioning in vehicles.
- Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
- Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
- Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Never leave children or pets in cars.
The bottom line is be cautious and take care of yourself. When the temperatures are in the 90s and feel like it is well over 100, you have to take your health seriously. Stay safe!