Summer is about to reach its peak, but temperatures are still soaring. Take the time to protect yourself and your loved ones from extreme heat. Today is Heatstroke Prevention Day. Do you know the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke?
Follow these tips from Ready.gov for protecting yourself in extreme heat:
Find air conditioning.
Avoid strenuous activities.
Watch for heat illness.
Wear light clothing.
Check on family members and neighbors.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Never leave people or pets in a closed car.
Did you know that 21 young children have died in hot cars so far in 2019? A child’s body overheats 3-5 times faster than an adult body. Make sure your child is never left alone in a car. If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. Call 911 immediately. If the child seems hot or sick, try to get them out of the vehicle as soon as possible. For more car safety tips for children, visit www.kidsandcars.org.
July is always one of the hottest months of the year. Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. According to KidsandCars.org, there have been 13 child vehicular heatstroke deaths so far this year, with an average of 38 deaths each year.
In 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees higher.
Cracking a window and/or air conditioning does little to keep it cool once the car is turned off.
A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s does.
When left in a hot car, a child’s major organs begin to shut down when his temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit and can die when temperature reach 107 degrees.
Because of global warming, expect more days to be hotter.
Never leave your pet in a parked car.
Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets and leave the water in a shady area.
If you see a child or pet alone in a hot vehicle, make sure the child or pet is responsive and attempt to locate the parents. If not, call 911 immediately. If the child or pet appears to be in distress, attempt to enter the car to assist – even if that means breaking a window. South Carolina has a “Good Samaritan” law that protects people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency.
As the weather gets warmer, DHEC warns you to take precautions to avoid heatstroke.
While going about your daily activities — whether exercising or simply traveling to the grocery store to shop — be sure to protect yourself and others from possible heatstroke. It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. It is important to note that children’s body temperatures warm at a rate three to five times faster than an adult’s.
Heatstroke requires emergency treatment
Untreated heatstroke 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.
If you think a person may be experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical help. Call 911 or your local emergency services number. Take steps cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment.
Get the person into shade or indoors.
Remove excess clothing.
Cool the person with whatever means available — put them in a cool tub of water or a cool shower, spray them with a garden hose, sponge them with cool water, fan them while misting them with cool water, or place ice packs or cold, wet towels on their head, neck, armpits and groin.
High body temperature: 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.
Altered mental state or behavior: Confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, etc.
Alteration in sweating: Heatstroke brought on by hot weather can cause skin to feel hot and dry to the touch. Heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise causes skin may feel moist.
Nausea and vomiting.
Racing heart rate.
Heatstroke is predictable and preventable
Take these steps to prevent heatstroke:
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
Protect against sunburn: Protect yourself outdoors with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated.
Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) in 10 minutes.
Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day.
Get acclimated. Limit the amount of time spent working or exercising in heat until you’re conditioned to it. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust.
Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services available in case of a heat emergency.
South Carolina is a beautiful place to spend the summer months, but it can be quite hot at times, too. Heat can cause health problems for some of us, and can even be deadly. Stay cool and prevent heat-related health issues. It’s your best defense.
Although anyone, at any time, can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
Infants and young children
People aged 65 or older
People who have a mental illness
Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illnesses, but it can be troubling. Be aware of the warning signs of heat exhaustion, which can include heavy sweating, cramps, dizziness and nausea. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress into heat stroke.
You should seek immediate medical help if your symptoms become severe or you have heart problems or high blood pressure.
Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages (and those directed by your physician), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar. These beverages actually cause your body to LOSE more fluids! Avoid very cold drinks, too, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If you must be outside when temps are high, avoid prolonged exposure by seeking shade or air conditioning every hour or so.
Electric fans may provide comfort, but fans will not prevent heat-related illness in extremely hot weather. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place, is a much better way to cool off.
If your home does not have air conditioning, go to public places with A/C during the heat of the day – someplace like a library or shopping mall. This is especially important for those in high-risk groups like the elderly who easily suffer health effects from being in the heat for prolonged periods.
Summer is here, and so is the heat. With temperatures reaching over 100 degrees this week, it’s a good time to remind ourselves about heatstroke prevention for children in cars.
In just 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can raise over 20 degrees. The leading cause of non-crash-related fatalities for children 14 and younger, heatstroke can occur when children are left alone in a car. That’s why it’s important for parents and caregivers to take careful precautions to reduce the risk of child heatstroke.
Here are some quick tips:
Don’t leave your child alone in the car, even for a minute.
Remember to ACT: Avoid heatstroke. Create reminders. Take action.
If you see a child left alone in a hot car, call 911 immediately.