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.
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.
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.
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.