National Weather Service Heat Index
Likelihood of heat disorders with prolonged exposure or strenuous activity.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - It's that time of year when the weather heats up.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn't enough."

As a result, the body's temperature rises and could damage the brain or other organs.

People most at risk for heat-related illnesses include people 65 and older, children and infants, and those with chronic illnesses. Other factors include dehydration, poor circulation, sunburn, prescription drugs and alcohol use, according to the CDC.

Here are things you can do to keep you and your family safe this summer:

• Keep the most strenuous activities to the coolest times of the day.

• Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing.

• Keep drinking water. Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine.

• When it's really hot, stay in air-conditioned places. If your home isn't an option, spend time at the library or a store.

• Hot foods and heavy meals can increase the heat.

• Leave water for your outdoor pets in a shady area.

• Wear sunblock. Sunburn can decrease your body's ability to dissipate heat.

• Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even if the windows are cracked.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a dark dashboard or seat can reach temperatures between 180 degrees Fahrenheit to more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, these objects give off longwave radiation, which warms air trapped inside the vehicle.
Protect yourself and your children when doing outdoor activities by wearing sunscreen with SPF 15.

The most effective products are labeled with "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB", according to the CDC.

For more information on how to stay safe in the heat, visit www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp.

Page last updated Wed May 23rd, 2012 at 14:37