Temperatures are rising across the country and many cities are feeling the heat of 100 degrees or more. With the addition of humidity, some areas will begin to experience extreme heat. During extreme heat, it is important to stay cool.
Extreme heat causes more deaths than hurricanes, tornados, floods and earthquakes combined. Heat related illnesses occur when the body is not able to compensate and properly cool itself. The great news is extreme heat is preventable by following a few tips:
- Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperatures.
- Do not leave children or pets in the car unattended at any time.
- Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
- Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
- Plan physical activities for early morning or later evening.
- Weather strip doors and windows to keep cool air in.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sunshine with drapes, shades or awnings.
- Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
- Stay indoors. If you do not have air conditioning, visit a cooling station such as your local library or shopping mall.
- Wear light weight and light colored clothing with sunscreen to reduce exposure to the sun.
- Pace yourself in your outside activities. Reschedule if needed.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
For more information on beating the heat visit:
image by James Gathany
Along with the continued risk of contracting diseases already established in the U.S., climate change and increased globalization are expanding the geographical range of key vectors, such as the mosquito species that transmit chikungunya and zika virus.
Most vector-borne diseases have no cure so, when traveling into your back yard or beyond you’re only left with the choice of an ounce or a pound of prevention.
Fortunately, we can all take steps such as:
- use an effective insect repellent on skin and clothing
- wear long sleeves and long pants (when it's not too hot)
- take care of our yards to get rid of standing water where mosquitoes lay their eggs
- reduce brush, tall grasses, leaf litter, and harborage where ticks may like to hang out
The CDC also provides educational information on approved repellents and other methods for preventing tick and mosquito bites.
OH&S Safety Short: Fight the Bite
The National Weather Service of Birmingham and Hunstville have created an interactive website of the event, including maps, photos, meteorilogical data, Family Album, and more:
April 27, 2011: A Day Alabama Will Never Forget