SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – We reached a high temperature of 90 degrees for the first time this year in Savannah last week. That day was just a quick reminder of the dangerous heat we all know is coming in just a few weeks. This is South Carolina’s Heat Safety Week to help you stay safe with the risks that come with summer heat and humidity.
Heat is the #1 weather-related killer in the United States with how taxing the heat can affect your body without you realizing it. Each day Storm Team 3 will go over a different heat safety-related topic. Today we will go over who is the most vulnerable to the heat.
The summer heat and humidity makes everyone sweaty and uncomfortable, especially if you are spending a long time outside in the middle of the day. There are some groups that are more at risk to dangerous heat than others: those who work outdoors, children, elderly, pregnant adults, and those with chronic illness.
- Children & Newborns: Their bodies are less adaptable to heat because of their smaller bodies. They have smaller cardiovascular systems and they tend to spend a lot time outside.
- Elderly: They are at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses, especially those with a preexisting condition, as their bodies will exert more in the heat.
- Pregnant Adults: According to the NWS, being in extreme heat can have adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant mortality.
- Outdoor workers: Working in the heat takes a great toll on your body, especially if you aren’t taking enough breaks from the sun and cooling your body down.
As Chief Meteorologist Kris Allred mentioned yesterday, your body’s ability to cool itself is challenged in extreme heat. Sweating is a natural way your body tries to cool itself down, but when you deal with extreme heat, there becomes a barrier that doesn’t allow your sweat to evaporate. This allows for your body to heat up to dangerous and sometimes deadly levels.
Be sure to check in on neighbors and anyone listed above in the summer to make sure they are okay and understand the impacts of summer heat on their bodies.
Always keep an eye on your pets if they are spending any time outside in the summer heat. For them, look out for warning signs of heavy panting and glazed eyes. Remember your pets can’t tell you when they are too hot. Also, be careful with hot pavements as they could lead to potential burns to their paws and paw pads.