The summer heat is upon us, and record high heat, along with the humidity, can really take it’s toll on a person.
Annually, there are many people who succumb to the extreme heat. These heat-related deaths and illness can and are very preventable. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “A study released today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that 7,233 heat-related deaths occurred in the United States from 1999 to 2009. An analysis of 2012 data indicates that deaths are on the rise. In a 2-week period in 2012, excessive heat exposure resulted in 32 deaths in four states, four times the typical average for those states for the same 2-week period from 1999-2009. More than two thirds of the deaths (69 percent) occurred at home, and 91 percent of those homes lacked air conditioning. Most of those who died were unmarried or living alone, and 72 percent were male.”
A heat-related illness occurs when our body is unable to properly cool itself. Our bodies will normally cool itself by sweating. But when our body is unable to sweat, for whatever reason, our core body temperature begins to rise rapidly. When our core temperatures become high, it begins to damage the brain and other vital organs.
Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, prescription drugs, mental illness, alcohol use, poor circulation, contribute to whether our bodies can regulate heat. Days that we have high humidity, will hinder our bodies from the ability to properly cool. This is due to the sweat not being able to evaporate as quickly, so our bodies are prevented from releasing the heat.
Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. People with chronic diseases, the elderly, and the young are at higher risk. Air-conditioning can help us make it through these “dog days” of summer. If you are participating in physical activities, try to do so in the earlier morning.
If your some is not air-conditioned, try to find a public facility that is air conditioned, and spend some time there, especially in the hottest part of the day.
The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. However, even young and healthy individuals can succumb to heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned.
Does your company work outside during extreme weather conditions? Are you conducting safety meetings to review the importance of safety during these conditions? At SCS Safety Health & Security Associates, we work with companies to provide monthly safety meetings, to help educate employees on these very safety issues. Hiring a safety consultant is not as expensive as one may think, but hiring the right company for you is everything! We have over 20 years of experience in the safety industry. Let our expertise help you with the safety of your employees and company! Check out website, and the services we offer. We offer general safety meetings, driver safety meetings, and much more.