Heat is the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the US


(WJBF) – In the South, we are used to warm weather, but not this warm, this early. Temperatures are expected to be in the triple digits for Memorial Day weekend. 

Research shows extreme heat accounts for more deaths than hurricanes, lightning, earthquakes, tornadoes and floods, combined in the United States. Roughly 1500 people die each year. 

This May is a hot one and getting hotter. The week leading up to Memorial Day theforecast shows are all record tying or record breaking temperatures. 

The Medical College of Georgia’s Dr. Janis Coffin says when temperatures change quickly, there is a greater chance for dehydration or heat-exhaustion. 

“When you’re going from 80 degree weather and the next week it’s going to be 102, you can’t really climatize to that so you just need to be aware.” Dr. Coffin says. 

An easy way to lessen the risk, avoid outdoor activities from 12-3PM since that is when the temperatures are usually the hottest. 

“Second, you want to make sure you’re wearing loose fitting clothing, it’s light colored and that it’s not tight. The third thing is you want to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids and that does not include caffeinated beverages so sodas or alcoholic beverages,” Dr. Coffin points out. 

She shares some of the signs of heat exhaustion. 

“If you feel dizzy, you feel light-headed, you feel really fatigued, headache, blurry vision, you need to get out of the sun immediately,”  Dr. Coffin explains. 

For those who are overheated, you need to get them to a cool place and give them lots of fluids. Dr. Coffin recommends half water, half sports drink. 

“If you have someone who is very vulnerable so under the age of 4 or over the age of 65 who is on chronic medications and they are feeling dizzy, light headed, they have a severe headache, if that does not improve within the hour, you might want to take them to your primary care provider or an urgent care or an emergency room to be evaluated if their symptoms don’t resolve in a fairly quickly manner,” Dr. Coffin explains. 

She also recommends wearing a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher to protect you from sun burn and skin cancer. 

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