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Hot Tips to Stay Cool

5/23/2014 5:05:00 PM

Tags: summer, extreme weather, environmental health, Earth Gauge

Memorial Day weekend signifies the unofficial start of summer, and in many parts of the country, the arrival of hot weather. According to National Weather Service, heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States. And, the number of heat waves has been on the rise in recent years – the recently released National Climate Assessment found that the number of intense heat waves in 2011 and 2012 were almost triple the long-term average. Heat waves can be particularly brutal in cities, where the surface temperatures of roofs and pavement can be from 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the air temperature on hot sunny days. These hot surfaces contribute to urban heat islands where temperatures in cities are hotter than surrounding, less developed areas. Hot weather and heat waves have a number of impacts, including increased energy use for air conditioning, increased emissions of air pollutants and impacts on human health.

Viewer Tip: May 23 is Heat Awareness Day. This is the perfect time of year to brush up on tips to keep yourself, family members and friends healthy during hot weather. Remember that infants and young children, people 65 years and older, people who are overweight, and people who are sick or use certain medications are especially vulnerable to heat-related illnesses.

  • Seek out A/C: A few hours per day in an air-conditioned building can reduce risk of illness. If your home does not have A/C, visit a senior center, movie theater, library, mall or designated community cooling center. A fan may provide some relief, but when temperatures reach the high 90′s, electric fans do not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Dress the Part: Wear light-weight, loose clothing that is light in color.  Drink plenty of fluids and avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol or lots of sugar, which can cause dehydration.
  • Check Up: If you have a family member, friend or neighbor who is at risk, visit them regularly.  If you see signs of heat-related illness – confusion, hot and dry skin, hallucinations, or aggression – seek help immediately.

National Weather Service issues Excessive Heat Outlooks, Excessive Heat Watches and Excessive Heat Warnings/Advisories to help you stay informed. Learn about these alerts and get more information about heat-related illness and preparedness.

Learn more about extreme heat in this infographic from the Centers for Disease Control.

An Infographic on Extreme Heat.

 (Sources: National Weather Service. “Heat: A Major Killer.” ; Melillo, Jerry M., Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe, Eds., 2014: Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, 841 pp. doi:10.7930/J0Z31WJ2.U.S; Environmental Protection Agency. “Heat Island Impacts.” ; “It’s Too Darn Hot – Planning for Excessive Heat Events.” Publication number: EPA 100-F-07-025, www.epa.gov/aging; Centers for Disease Control, “Extreme Heat



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Post a comment below.

 

ANDREW BR
5/27/2014 11:19:16 PM
Beware when you read "replace body salts lost through perspiration". Most people read this as table salt, but this can raise your blood pressure which is not good if you are also dehydrated. A better solution is to eat fruit, especially bananas as they are high in potassium. Also eat more slow burning carbohydrates (grains) in the morning when you will feel like eating and drinking and then just top up with snacks and water during the day. A good indicator is you urine. If it is dark orange you are dehydrated, light yellow you are becoming dehydrated, clear your OK. Top Tip, wear a vented wide brimmed hat, it keeps the sun out of your eyes, protects the tops of your ears from sun burn and keeps your head and neck cool. These tips work so well and we train all our responders in them and they regularly work in temperatures exceeding 114f (46C).










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