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Many people have chosen to stay indoors this summer, in fear of heat exhaustion, sunburn, and many other consequences that result from such skyrocketing temperatures.
Most summers are usually filled with summer barbecues, long days at the pool, and outdoor sports, however people are unusually optimistic about the end of summer this year in hopes that it will also bring an end to record breaking temperatures.
The South and East have been hit particularly hard with temperatures being about two degrees higher than usual for the 20th century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Some states which have experienced average temperatures even higher than that include Maryland, Virginia, and Arkansas.
Unfortunately, many people (of all ages) have suffered fatalities due to the overwhelming heat and lack of awareness.
Within the past two weeks, three high-school football players and a football coach have died due to heat illness. Young athletes are specifically at risk during this time when most teams are beginning pre-season practices, which usually include tough conditioning.
Health experts, specifically the American Academy of Pediatrics, are urging parents to take extra precautions while outdoors. The AAP also explained that these heat-related illnesses could be prevented by simple preparation and monitoring.
New evidence from the University of South Dakota shows that “most strategies to reduce heat-related illness in adults apply to children as well.” While poor hydration is the most prominent cause of these illnesses and fatalities, additional determinants can include “undue physical extortion, and even inappropriately wearing clothing, uniforms, and protective equipment that play a role in excessive heat retention.”
A policy statement from the AAP includes 11 recommendations to stay safe during this summer heat which include:
Along with the recommendations, the policy statement includes symptoms of different heat illnesses, and a table that according to ABC News, “summarizes risk factors for heat-related illness in children.”
Jason Karp, exercise physiologist and running coach, tells ABC News that the weather should not keep anyone from exercising and spending time outside. He also has some tips including weighing yourself before and after your workouts to see how much water is lost, adding that “one pound of weight difference means you lost about 16 ounces of water.”
Dr. William P. Bozeman, an associate professor of emergency medicine and the emergency services director at Wake Forest University explains that after recognizing a heat-induced illness the most important steps are calling 911, moving into the shade, applying ice to areas such as the neck or armpits (where blood vessels are close to the surface), and removing any heavy clothing.