We’re no strangers to hot weather here in South Carolina. It’s a fact of life.
It’s also a fact that when the temperatures and humidity reach extremes, it can make people ill or even cause death. But heat-related deaths and illness are preventable.
Heat can be deadly
DHEC encourages everyone to understand the dangers of extreme heat. Heatstroke, the most serious of all heat-related illnesses, can cause damage to your body, especially your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage gets worse the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.
It is particularly important to inform older people about the perils of heat and to keep careful watch over those who might be under your care. People aged 65 years or older are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature.
Protect yourself during hot weather
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people in this category heed the following guidance:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
- Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
- Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
- Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Check the local news for health and safety updates.
- Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.
Visit the CDC website for more information on extreme heat related your health. You also can find information there on how heat affects the elderly as well as other groups of people.