FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - On average, extreme heat kills over 130 people in the United States every year. That’s more than any other weather-related phenomenon. More than flooding, more than tornadoes, more than hurricanes. Unlike flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes, preventing heat-related deaths is fairly simple.
The first thing you should do is check the forecast, if high temperatures and humidity are in store, plan your day accordingly.
If you plan on being outside, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If the UV Index is above a 3, make sure to wear SPF 30 or above and follow the directions on the bottle for how often to re-apply.
When the UV Index is 5 or above, think about protective clothing like hats and UV blocking shirts as well as sunscreen to help protect your skin.
Choosing your clothes is simple when it’s hot, don’t wear dark colors. It collects heat faster and causes your body to struggle to cool naturally. Wear light colored, loose fitting clothes. The loose fitting clothing makes sure sweat doesn’t stay on your skin.
Sweating is a good sign. Your body wants to naturally produce sweat to cool itself. Usually the wind will help evaporate the sweat, allowing your body to produce more sweat to continue cooling. But when the temperatures and humidity is high and the wind is low, the sweat stays on your skin, causing issues with cooling. That’s why it’s important to stay out of the direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day and limit outdoor exercise.
If you don’t take these precautions, your internal body temperature starts to rise and it doesn’t take much to cause problems. You can start to cramp, get dizzy, and become nauseous.
If your internal temperatures goes above 103 degrees F, you stop sweating, your heart beats faster and stronger trying to transport the heat away from your organs. You can become unconscious, and damage to your brain and internal organs are possible.
Heat-related illnesses can turn serious, quickly, but by paying attention to the feels like temperatures and planning your day, you can quickly make sure you and your family is safe.