I read about recent heat related deaths and wanted to write to discuss awareness of the safety risks during excessive heat. Do you have any suggestions that would help us prepare and protect ourselves during such weather?
The continuing heat wave has led to utilities stressing the importance of reducing all unnecessary electrical use. Excessively hot temperatures are unhealthy particularly for the elderly, children, people taking certain medications, and pets. Whenever temperatures are this high, energy use increases as well. There are things we can all do while keeping safety your number one priority.
First, if possible, set your thermostat at 76, or even 78 degrees. If this sounds too warm for you, consider using a fan in addition to the air conditioner as fans use much less energy and they make the temperature feel cooler by circulating the air. Also, keep your windows covering closed to help keep your home from heating up during the day.
Additionally, turn off unnecessary electronic devices and lights. Other tips include postponing activities which require electricity such as washing clothes. However, perhaps the most important advice for managing excessive heat is to slow down, stay indoors, and postpone strenuous projects and outdoor activity while drinking plenty of water until cooler weather returns.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that each year nearly 300 people die in our country due to heat related causes. Additionally, thousands are afflicted with dehydration and heat stroke. If possible air conditioning should be used when it is very hot. If air conditioning is not available consider visiting public places like neighborhood cooling centers, malls, libraries, etc., that have air conditioning. Some people prefer to keep windows closed for security purposes even when a cool breeze is available. This problem can be resolved by installing safety latches for windows so that they cannot be opened from the outside but will allow air to enter. They are inexpensive and purchased at a local hardware store.
If suffering from symptoms such as nausea, lightheadedness, faintness, vomiting, cold hands, excessive sweating, high body temperature, headache or mental confusion contact 911 immediately.
Finally, if you have neighbors or relatives that you are concerned about please visit them as frequently as possible, and encourage them to increase their fluid intake by drinking cool, non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages. Also, take them to air conditioned locations if they have transportation problems. They should not be waiting in the sun for a bus.
With awareness and
preventive measures everyone can enjoy a healthy and active summer.
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