TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Around 600 people are killed by extreme heat every year and the CDC said that number is preventable.
“I think we really don’t see the strength that comes with the heat and how fast it can take a toll on our bodies,” Shelby Jackson the Public Health Educator at the Vigo County Health Department said.
Jackson said there are four levels of heat-related illnesses. “We all start with dehydration. Then we can go into heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.”
In the heart of the summer, Jackson said to look out for the symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
“Some signs that you might experience when you’re outside, vomiting, some fatigue, you’re feeling lightheaded, dizziness, you may be excessively sweating or not sweating at all, and you’re craving water but also something sugary.”
Jackson said a critical factor is whether you are sweating or not sweating, “It’s a natural mechanism for your body to sweat, to try and cool you off. When your body has stopped sweating on its own, it’s time for you to immediately get inside, get somewhere where you can get cool, splash some cool water on you or a mist. Because you’re actually getting into that heat stroke type illness.”
Several residents were keeping cool at the pool today.
“We’re beating the heat by going to Deming Park and swimming all day,” Terre Haute resident, Terri Squires said.
Maevry Mershon, a young swimmer, was happy to spend the day at the pool. “The pool is pretty cold. And it’s keeping us cold, so we won’t get hot,” she said.
Jackson said people can still enjoy outdoor activities. “You can enjoy the swimming pool in a safe way. If you’re outside in the water, your body temperature is already acclimated to that pool of water or pond. So, it’s fine, if you get out for excessive time, you know just take it slow getting back in,” Jackson said.
If you’re outside and showing signs of a heat-related illness, Jackson warned, “Do not go and jump in that pool or that pond. I know it’s tempting, but slowly ease your body into that cool body of water.