The dangers of excessive heat and how to stay cool

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FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Excessive heat is the number one weather killer in the United States on average every year. With hot temps in the forecast, we have some tips on how to avoid heat exhaustion or even a heat stroke.

Being in rising temperatures during the hot months can be very dangerous. In fact, statistics show more than 100 people die from the heat on average each year.

“As far as heat related emergencies go, it’s probably the most underestimated cause of death due to the weather,” Otter Creek Fire EMS Division Chief Jarred Rankin said. “I think people kind of underestimate how dangerous it can be.”

Rankin described the differences between heat exhaustion and a heat stroke.

“It’s up to 103 degrees, usually profuse sweating, very high heart rates, difficulty breathing, they become very pale, cold, very dizzy, fatigued, sometimes they are experiencing nausea and vomiting,” Rankin said. “But with heat stroke however, the body is no longer compensating for that fluid loss you can say, or their body is not compensating for the heat, so they are actually no longer sweating, which is pretty dangerous, and this is where we start leading into things like seizures, unconsciousness and even death.”

Rankin said there are certain steps you can take to prevent heat related emergencies.

“Acclimating yourself to the heat, obviously taking frequent breaks in the shade or cool, and drinking water, I think that’s the number one thing,” he said.

Taking slow sips of room temperature water and checking on your loved ones can go a long way in the heat.

“Checking on your neighbors, checking on your family and checking on your friends. Especially those that have a higher risk of experiencing heat related illness,” Rankin said.

Rankin said there are agencies in the area for those that may need additional help including Western Indiana Community Action Agency and Area 7 Agency on Aging, or you can even dial 211 for information on how to stay cool.

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