It’s Hot! How to Stay Safe During Triple Digit Heat Indexes
How many times did you hear "it's not the heat; it's the humidity" when you were growing up? That statement is far more true than we may have realized as carefree kids. Midwestern summers are no joke and with mercury climbing and high humidity, the current heat index is expected to top 100 degrees.
By itself, intense heat can certainly cause a whole host of problems but when combined with ultra-high humidity, it can be downright lethal. Earlier today, the National Weather Service in Paducah, Kentucky released a Special Weather Statement announcing a Heat Advisory for tomorrow, July 29, 2021 from 10 am until 8 pm for parts of Southern Indiana, Western Kentucky, Southern Illinois.
With the heat index well into triple digits, this means that we need to be taking extra precautions, particularly the elderly and those who work outdoors, as well as extra precautions for pets and children as well.
High Temperatures Can Cause Illness and Even Death
According to Weather.gov, heat is one of the biggest causes of weather-related deaths and heat-related illnesses can occur even with limited exposure, particularly during times of extreme heat indexes. They say that young children, the elderly, those with chronic medical issues, and those who are pregnant are at higher risk of heat-related illness.
- Young children and infants are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness and death, as their bodies are less able to adapt to heat than are adults.
- Older adults, particularly those with pre existing diseases, take certain medications, are living alone or with limited mobility who are exposed to extreme heat can experience multiple adverse effects.
- People with chronic medical conditions are more likely to have a serious health problem during a heat wave than healthy people.
- Pregnant women are also at higher risk. Extreme heat events have been associated with adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant mortality, as well as congenital cataracts.
Don't Leave Kids, the Elderly or Disabled or Pets in a Locked Car
Of course, it is never safe to leave a child, the elderly or disabled, or pets locked inside the car as the temperature inside can quickly climb well above the already extreme outside temperatures. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of a car to heat up to 20 degrees hotter than the outside temperature.
Stay cool. Stay hydrated. Stay safe.
For those that must be outside during periods of extreme heat, it is imperative that you stay hydrated and take frequent breaks in the shade, or better yet in the air conditioning. It is also a good idea to check on our elderly neighbors who may be living alone. If you participate in outdoor activities like running, biking or hiking, try to find an indoor option or try to limit yourself to less strenuous exercise. And finally, for those with pets, now is not the time to take your favorite good boy out for a walk. The sidewalks and streets can literally be blistering hot for the tender pads on their feet.
If you don't have to be out in the heat, it may be best to just stay inside for the next few days.