Heat Awareness Day is June 5
For the City Times
Joint project between Minnesota and Wisconsin sheds new light on who is most at risk of Heat-Related Illness
PORTAGE COUNTY — While many people look forward to warmer temperatures during summer months, it’s important to remember that hot conditions can turn dangerous quickly. In Wisconsin, Heat Awareness Day is June 5th, Portage County Health and Human Services is sharing the latest research on heat-related illnesses and steps to take to keep you and your loved ones safe during summer heat.
Public health scientists from Minnesota and Wisconsin joined forces in 2018 to look at heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke from 2006 – 2015 in both states. There were 8,445 heat-related illness emergency department cases in Wisconsin or 14.9 cases per every 100,000 people.
Scientists were most surprised that teens and adults 15 to 34 years old in both states are the most likely to visit the emergency department for heat-related illness. While the very young and very old are at higher risk for death and longer hospitalization, the study shows that teens and younger adults, particularly those involved in athletics or working outdoors also need to take steps to prevent heat related illness.
“Hot temperatures and humidity can be dangerous and even deadly,” said local Portage County health officials. “During heat waves, it’s important to stay cool, hydrated, and informed.”
Follow these tips to prevent heat-related illness:
- Stay in air conditioning. When possible, stay in air-conditioning on hot days. If you don’t have air conditioning, head to libraries, malls, and other public spaces to keep cool.
- If you have to be outside, stick to the cooler morning and evening hours. Wear a hat, light- colored, loose clothing and take frequent, breaks or rest in air-conditioned or shaded areas.
- Drink plenty of water on hot days, even if you aren’t thirsty, drink every 15 minutes. Avoid alcohol and hot, heavy meals.
- Watch your local weather forecasts so you can plan outdoor activities safely. Pay attention to any extreme heat alerts.
- Know the signs of heat-related illness, if you start feeling overheated, weak, dizzy, nauseated, or have muscle cramps, you could be experiencing heat illness. Move to air conditioning, drink water, get under a fan, and put on cool washcloths. If your symptoms worsen or don’t improve, go to the emergency room.
- Know your location, it may be necessary for you to call 911 for a co-worker, teammate, friend or family member. Know your location street address or mile marker, so that emergency help can make it to you quickly.
- Beware of hot cars. Never leave a person or a pet in a parked car, even for a short time. On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes.
For additional information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ heat safety webpage and watch their heat safety video.