Heat Warning Hits Central United States, Canada; Heat Exhaustion Significant Risk

According to National Weather Service, heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States; it leads to heat-related illnesses and fatalities that number in the hundreds every year. With a heat warning blanketing much of the central United States and Canada that is set to last over a few days, it’s little wonder that weather services are once again concerned about the effect the coming hot days will have on people.

While people tend to look forward to the heat during the summer months, as it means days at the beach and lots of swimming and ice cream, there are those that sometimes forget about heat warnings or think that heat exhaustion won’t happen to them. The National Weather Service discussed some stories of those who learned the hard way that heat is something to take very seriously.

Brandon (last name not given) experienced heat exhaustion in 2015 while running in 95-degree weather. He admitted that he was a bit out of shape but decided to go running nonetheless.

“Towards the fourth mile, my excessive sweating began to slow down, I began to shiver, my lungs and muscles got really tight and I began to have stabbing pains in my chest,” he said. “I got home later and weighed myself. I had lost over 10 pounds of water. I was running by myself and I was out of shape at the time. If I had collapsed no one would have found me on the side of the road fallen in the woods.”

Ohio is one of the states predicted to be affected by heat; although temperatures are predicted to be in the 90s, a humidex as a result of the humidity could send the mercury upwards of 100 F. In Canada, similar temperatures are expected to occur. In Simcoe County, for instance, temperatures will be hovering around 90 F, but with the humidex temperatures for the area will be pushed to around 102 F. This is not expected to change much over the next couple of days.

Environment Canada said in its own heat warning that there are multiple signs someone could be struggling with heat exhaustion. The site lists dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, the potential for headache, rapid breathing, an elevated heartbeat, extreme thirst, and decreased urination among its symptoms of heat exhaustion.

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of choosing where they work, and certainly, there are a few jobs that people hold that do not have air conditioning or where air conditioning may have little effect for the workers. These include workers like firefighters, bakery workers, farmers, construction workers, miners, boiler room workers, factory workers, and others, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In those cases where people are working outside, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people remember to wear and use sunscreen as directed on the package. In addition, people who work in areas that might be affected by heat are recommended to drink two to four cups of water every hour in order to stay hydrated. One of the biggest problems many have as far as heat illnesses are concerned is dehydration, as many people simply drink when they feel thirsty, but that is not a good idea when faced with the possibility of heat exhaustion.

The CDC also recommends that people stay away from alcohol and sugared drinks during heat warnings, as these can often make heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion worse. The organization also recommends finding a cool spot in which to take breaks when a heat warning is in effect in order to prevent heat illnesses.

With the heat warning that is blanketing much of Ontario and many regions in the central United States, it is important to remember to take all recommendations to avoid heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion seriously. While the phrase “stay cool” is often used to remind people not to let their tempers get the better of them, it’s also a good reminder to not let the heat get the better of them as well.

[Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images]