NOAA says Charleston’s ‘peak heat’ is July 16-20

With summer’s “peak heat” arriving, people who work outside, and those who care for children and the elderly, need to make sure they are safe.

Think it’s been a hot summer already? Statistics say you ain’t felt nothing yet.

The “peak heat of summer” for the Charleston area is Thursday through Monday, or July 16-20, according to a 30-year trend calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center.

So in that regard, don’t forget a few tips to beat the heat, which is responsible, on average, for about 600 deaths and more than 3,000 hospitalizations every year.

“In my 25 years as an emergency medicine physician, I’ve seen the catastrophic effect heat can have on health,” said Dr. Tim Davis, chief medical officer with the National Disaster Medical System at the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Children are especially vulnerable to heat illnesses, and can’t always tell us what is wrong. When it’s hot outside, consider any change in a child’s behavior as heat stress. Additionally, infants and children should never be left in a parked car, even if the windows are down.”

Davis said people suffering from heat-related illnesses may experience heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale and clammy skin; a fast, weak pulse; and nausea or vomiting. Early signs include muscle cramps, heat rash and fainting or near-fainting spells.

“If you believe someone is suffering from a heat-related illness, they need to move to a cooler location and lie down; apply cool, wet cloths to the body; and sip non-alcoholic fluids. They should remain in the cool location until recovered,” said Davis.

To help prevent heat-related illness, spend time in locations with air conditioning; drink plenty of water and diluted sports drinks (unless told otherwise by your physician); choose light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing; limit outdoor activities to morning and evening hours; and protect yourself from the sun by wearing hats with brims and sunscreen.

Reach David Quick at 937-5516.