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Fort Smith
Friday, August 12, 2022

Summer Heat Wave Poses Health & Safety Risks

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As local temperatures continue to soar during the hot summer months, special members of our population are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness that could even lead to death. According to the United States National Weather Service, heat is one of the leading weather-related killers. Each year, the media reports on the tragic deaths of children, elderly, and even pets that result from being trapped in cars and in homes without air conditioning.

According to the National Weather Service, “Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. Heat can be very taxing on the body; check out the heat related illnesses that can occur with even a short period of exposure. Everyone can be vulnerable to heat, but some more so than others. According to The Impacts Of Climate Change On Human Health In The United States: A Scientific Assessment the following groups are particularly vulnerable to heat; check in with friends and relatives who fall in one of these populations, especially if they don’t have air conditioning.

  • Young children and infants are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness and death, as their bodies are less able to adapt to heat than are adults. 
  • Older adults, particularly those with pre-existing diseases, take certain medications, are living alone or with limited mobility who are exposed to extreme heat can experience multiple adverse effects.
  • People with chronic medical conditions are more likely to have a serious health problem during a heat wave than healthy people.
  • Pregnant women are also at higher risk. Extreme heat events have been associated with adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant mortality, as well as congenital cataracts.

It is NEVER safe to leave a child, disabled person or pet locked in a car, even in the winter. If you have a toddler in your household, lock your cars, even in your own driveway.  Kids play in cars or wander outside and get into a car and can die in 10 minutes! A reported 25 children died in hot cars in 2020.

Deaths routinely are reported as early as April and tragedies continue into December in southern states. Find out more about how cars can heat up quickly when left in the sun. Information and resources in both English and Spanish from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”

For more information, interested citizens can go to weather.gov/safety. The website provides important safety-related information that is vital for everyone to be aware of during the extreme heat of summer.

Information Source: National Weather Service Website; weather.gov/safety

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Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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