How to Protect Ourselves From the Heat

By Carlos Roa

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 700 people die from extreme heat every year in the United States.

Nowadays the state of Florida averages 25 dangerously hot days, when temperatures reach 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, each year. By 2050, it is projected to see 130 such days per year, more than any other state, according to Climate Central.

High body temperatures can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs. Equally dangerous is the so-called heat stroke, which occurs when the body’s temperature rises rapidly; and when coupled with signs of unrest and agitation, can even result in death. 

The fact, scientifically supported, is that the number of hot days is increasing and the temperature on those days is rising. What can we do to protect ourselves? 

The CDC warns that those at high risk in this situation include people 65 years of age and older, children under 2 years of age, and people with chronic illnesses.

Precautions to protect yourself

  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Increase your water intake, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Thirst is a sign of dehydration.
  • Plan outdoor activities carefully and limit your time outdoors.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sandals.
  • Apply sunscreen.
  • Moderate the pace of your activities.
  • Take a cold shower or bath to cool off.
  • Do not be overconfident. Sometimes being in the shade or in an air-conditioned environment is not enough.
  • Look out for friends or neighbors and ask someone to do the same for you.
  • Take special care of older adults, who are more sensitive to temperature rises.
  • Pay attention to signs of heat you may notice in children and pets.
  • Do not stay in or leave anyone in closed, parked cars, especially children, disabled people or pets.
  • Follow local news for updates on weather, health and safety issues.
  • Additionally, if you suspect a person is being affected by heat, call 911 immediately. 

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