How to stay safe when the heat is on

Summer officially begins June 21

The National Weather Service Heat Index Chart (National Weather Service)

Orlando – The heat has been the big story in Florida lately as summer approaches. Not only does the average high temperature go up the deeper into summer we go, but factoring in the high humidity makes it feel even hotter.

Here’s why it’s important to take humidity into consideration. When the humidity is high, sweat your body produces to stay cool won’t evaporate as quickly. In return, the body can’t release heat as fast as it may need to.

Scorching hot sun (WDIV)

Although heat-related illness can be prevented, the CDC reports over 700 people a year die from it in the United States.

People over the age of 65, children, and those that have chronic or mental illnesses are at higher risk for heat-related illnesses. Some medications can make people sensitive to the heat too. When caring for someone in one of these categories, be sure they have access to cool air and that they stay hydrated.

A waitress serves refreshments at a beach bar of Lagonissi village, a few miles southwest of Athens, on Thursday, July 29, 2021. One of the most severe heat waves recorded since 1980s scorched southeast Europe on Thursday, sending residents flocking to the coast, public fountains and air-conditioned locations to find some relief, with temperatures rose above 40 C (104 F) in parts of Greece and across much of the region. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Limiting outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the day like midday when the sun is hottest will help prevent the body from overheating. Don’t forget if children are going outside to play that they wear and reapply sunscreen and wear loose, light-colored clothing that’s lightweight.

Remind kids to drink water before they start to feel thirsty too. This applies for adults as well. Staying hydrated can prevent muscles from cramping which can be an early sign of heat-related illness. Taking breaks in the shade or air conditioning is also important to allow time for the body to cool down.

A man drinks a bottle of water in the heat during a Juneteenth commemoration at Leimert Park Plaza on Saturday, June 19, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) (Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Knowing the signs of heat-related illness is key too. Besides muscle cramps, heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness or headache, fainting, fast and weak pulse, and a slightly higher than normal body temperature are all signs the body is suffering and needs immediate attention.

About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.