How deadly can the heat be? According to the NWS website: "Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. In fact, on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. In the disastrous heat wave of 1980, more than 1,250 people died. In the heat wave of 1995 more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat. In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives."
FIRST: Don't ever leave anyone or any animal in a parked car--even with the window 'cracked'..as a car's interior can climb to 123 degrees in less than an hour AND THAT'S WHEN THE OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE IS ONLY 81 DEGREES! Can you imagine how how it must get when the outside temperature is 100 and above?! According to researchers, dark dashboards, steering wheels, etc can reach temperatures in excess of 200 degrees.
SECOND: Check on elderly relatives and neighbors. We are never sure what is going on behind those closed doors---and it's possible that they aren't properly operating their air conditioning systems, and maybe don't even have air conditioning!
OUTSIDE TIPS from the NWS:
- Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
- Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
- Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
- Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages.
- During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
- Don't get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body's ability to dissipate heat.
- Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.
OUTSIDE PETS: Be sure they have plenty of clean water, replentished often. Also be sure they have a shady area to escape the sun. If you have a long haired dog, a summertime short haircut may be a good idea.