Heat Awareness Day
This past week, the temperatures could have fooled you into thinking it is summer, but the summer solstice is still a month away. Across the Midwest and many parts of the country, the week of Memorial Day saw above-average temperatures and some places even saw record high temperatures. Already, 2020 is shaping up to be the warmest year on record, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Warmer weather brings an increased chance of heat-related illnesses, injuries, and even deaths. Ready.gov reports extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards. Every year there are more heat-related deaths than lightning strikes, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods combined!
Surprisingly though, most heat-related incidents can be prevented, unlike other weather-related hazards. When weather services issue heat advisories, it is good to prepare for extreme heat hazards.
Be sure to think safe and work safely when extreme heat threatens. Here are some safety tips to help you beat the heat:
- Stay cool by working inside with air conditioning when possible.
- If you are working outside, take breaks often, finding a cool shady spot to recharge and rehydrate.
- Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks. When temperatures exceed 80 degrees or when exposed to excessive sun, drink water every 5 to 10 minutes even when you do not feel thirsty.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to protect your skin from the sun and keep yourself cool. Avoid dark-colored clothing that will absorb heat. Bright colors, such as white and neon yellow, will deflect some of the sun’s heat.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out to avoid sunburns. Not only are sunburns painful, they cause the body to lose fluids and affect the body’s ability to cool itself.