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How to Survive Extreme Heat Hits: Know Your Risks, Recognize The Symptoms, And Stay Safe

Extreme Heat Hits
A family beating the heat.
As temperatures soar across parts of the United States, experts are urging residents to take precautions against the dangerous impacts of extreme heat. States like Texas and Florida have already experienced record-breaking temperatures, with many more regions anticipating similar conditions in the coming weeks.



Understanding the Severity of Extreme Heat

Extreme heat is the deadliest weather-related hazard in the U.S., claiming more lives annually than hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods. The National Weather Service reports that heat causes more deaths each year than any other extreme weather event, a trend that has persisted for decades. In 2022, for example, heat-related illnesses sent thousands to emergency rooms across the country.

Climate change is exacerbating this issue, leading to more frequent, intense, and prolonged heat waves. According to Chris Uejio, an environmental health expert at Florida State University, the frequency and severity of these events are expected to rise, further endangering public health.



Immediate Health Risks

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are among the most immediate and severe health risks associated with extreme heat. Heatstroke occurs when the body loses its ability to regulate temperature, potentially leading to permanent disability or death. Symptoms include a high body temperature (above 103°F), hot and dry skin, a rapid pulse, and possible unconsciousness. Heat exhaustion, which can escalate to heatstroke if untreated, includes symptoms like heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and headaches​.

Chronic health conditions can also worsen during extreme heat. Dr. Christopher Tedeschi, an emergency preparedness expert at Columbia University, notes that high temperatures put significant stress on the body, aggravating conditions like heart disease and respiratory issues. Poor air quality, often accompanying heat waves, further complicates these health risks​.



Long-Term Health Impacts

Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can have lasting health effects. Chronic heat exposure can strain the cardiovascular system, disrupt sleep, and deteriorate overall health. Higher temperatures can also exacerbate conditions like asthma and other respiratory diseases by increasing ground-level ozone and particulate matter in the air​.



Staying Safe in Extreme Heat

Staying safe during extreme heat requires proactive measures. Cheryl Nelson, a FEMA-certified natural disaster preparedness instructor, recommends staying indoors with air conditioning whenever possible. If air conditioning is unavailable, visiting cooling centers, libraries, or malls can provide relief. At home, using fans strategically, keeping windows open at night, and staying on lower floors can help.

Hydration is crucial. Drinking plenty of water and consuming hydrating foods like cucumbers, strawberries, and melons can help maintain fluid balance. Small, frequent meals are preferable over larger ones, as digestion can raise body temperature.



Government and Community Response

In response to the escalating heat crisis, President Joe Biden has announced measures to protect workers and the general public. These include hazard alerts for employers, enhanced weather forecasts, and increased inspections of workplaces like farms and construction sites. The administration is also investing in infrastructure to improve climate resilience and access to drinking water.



Recognizing the Signs of Heat-Related Illness

Knowing the symptoms of heat-related illnesses can be lifesaving. For heat exhaustion, look out for heavy sweating, muscle cramps, tiredness, and dizziness. If you or someone else shows signs of heatstroke, such as a high body temperature, altered mental state, or dry skin, seek immediate medical attention.



As extreme heat becomes a more frequent and severe issue, understanding the risks and taking proactive steps to stay safe is essential. Staying informed, hydrated, and cool can prevent heat-related illnesses and save lives. For further information on staying safe during extreme heat, visit the National Weather ServiceNational Weather Service or your local health department's website.

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dearJulius.com News | Breaking News, US News, World News: How to Survive Extreme Heat Hits: Know Your Risks, Recognize The Symptoms, And Stay Safe
How to Survive Extreme Heat Hits: Know Your Risks, Recognize The Symptoms, And Stay Safe
Learn about the dangers of extreme heat, its health impacts, and practical safety tips to stay cool and protected during heat waves.
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