Beware of heat waves: National Heat Awareness Day

Warm weather has finally returned to Michigan. The arrival of summer means beautiful days spent by the pool, as well as potential health risks, are right around the corner. Each year, numerous fatalities happen in the United State due to heat stroke, but serious injury can be avoided by taking appropriate precautions. In honor of National Heat Awareness Day, discover some easy ways to protect yourself this season.

Michigan certainly isn’t the hottest destination on the map, but you can anticipate at  least one serious heat wave each summer. The best way to stay informed of severe weather is to keep eyes out and ears open for news from the National Weather Service.  If you see one of three advisories that the NWS sends out, including Excessive Heat Outlooks, Excessive Heat Watches and Excessive Heat Warnings, plan to adjust your schedule appropriately.

But, of course, we can’t be expected to stay indoors all summer or glued to our phones or computers waiting for updates. If you’re planning to be outside on an especially hot day, be sure to wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, put on plenty on sunblock and, most importantly, drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help you maintain a normal body temperature and will help you sweat.

Interestingly, some of the most common ways that people fall victim to heat stroke are the most preventable ways. When traveling, never leave anyone in a parked car that’s turned off. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes. This is especially important to remember for children and the elderly whom might not be able to assist themselves or cry out for help.

When planning an outdoor activity, take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. Summer brings us longer daylight hours, but scheduling strenuous activities at ideal times can help you avoid heat-related issues. If you’re scheduling exercise or physical labor, the best times to be outside are early mornings or evenings as the weather will be cooler. Most often, the hottest part of the day will be between noon at 5 p.m. when the sun is at its highest point in the sky.

If you’re on medications or have a condition that increases risks of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services available in case of a heat emergency. Be sure to alert someone if you start feeling any abnormal effects, as well.

These are just a few of the many ways to protect yourself against heat stroke during especially hot days. For more great tips and other stories, be sure to check out our other Empowered Community blogs and enjoy the beautiful summer season in Michigan.