BY SCOTTIE BROWN
The Greenville Standard
Extreme heat often results in the highest number of deaths annually in weather-related incidents, and as temperatures continue to rise, there are several ways to ensure you are protected this summer.
The American Red Cross defines heat index as the temperature a body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined. When affected by extreme heat, people are susceptible to three heat-related conditions; heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat strokes.
To limit your chances of experiencing any of these illnesses, the American Red Cross recommends wearing loose-fitting and lightweight clothing, take breaks often when working outside, taking regular hydration breaks even when not feeling thirsty and stay abreast of critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
Statistics kept by NWS show 20 cases of hyperthermia, or the body absorbing more heat than it can handle, having been reported for 2018 with the first occurring in February. NWS reports a car sitting in the hot sun can heat to dangerous temperatures in just over two minutes.
Data provided to NWS by General Motors and San Francisco State University shows a car’s temperature on the inside may heat to 123 degrees over the course of an hour when sitting in the sun on an 80-degree day. Children, pets and our four-legged friends are also not to be forgotten.
The American Red Cross recommends ensuring your animals’ needs for water and shade are met at all times and to never leave an animal alone in an enclosed vehicle.
ASPCA also suggests not taking animals for walks on asphalt when temperatures are high as sensitive paw pads may burn. Overheating in animals may causes symptoms such as excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increase heart and respiratory rates, drooling, minor weakness, stupor or even collapse.