Tennessee public health experts urge precaution in extreme heat

Published 10:38 am Thursday, July 21, 2022

(TNNS) Southern states including Tennessee are in the grip of an unrelenting heat wave. According to the National Weather Service, heat indices could reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit in more than a dozen states.
Locally, temperatures are expected to reach the mid-90s over the weekend and into next week.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, heat is the number one weather-related cause of death, and climate change is driving increases in those numbers.
Dr. Tobi Adeyeye Amosun, assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health Division of Family Health and Wellness, explained in prolonged high temperatures, people are more likely to experience heat exhaustion, which can trigger skin redness, heavy sweating, nausea and vomiting. She added in addition to young children and the elderly, certain groups are at higher risk.
“So those are people who sometimes cannot regulate their core body temperature as easily as everyone else,” Amosun explained. “They’re also more likely to get dehydrated. Those are people who might have conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions, and sickle cell anemia.”
Amosun pointed out heat stroke symptoms are severe and include seizures, loss of consciousness and confusion, and advised anyone experiencing such symptoms to seek emergency medical help.
She added staying hydrated and avoiding exercise or work in extreme heat, or seeking shade, are ways to stay safe.
She emphasized high temperatures makes spending time in cars, no matter how briefly, extremely dangerous. She urged residents not to leave children or pets in cars under any circumstance, and to double-check all back seats before locking your doors to make sure no one has been left inside.
“Leaving your cellphone or your purse or what have you in the back seat is a checkpoint to make sure that you’re always checking in the back,” Amosun suggested. “To make sure your child doesn’t get inadvertently left in the back seat.”
Research has shown within one hour, the interior of a car parked in the sun on a 95-degree Fahrenheit day can reach an average 116 degrees.

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