Officials urge you to take precautions against heat stroke during these record high temperatures.
In 2010, excessive heat claimed 138 lives across the country, according to Tod Pritchard with Wisconsin Emergency Management. He says summer heat waves are the biggest weather-related killers in Wisconsin. “We just seem to get a lot of heat-related deaths; it far exceeds tornadoes and any other kind of severe weather that we encounter.”
In 1995 two major killer heat waves affected most of the Badger State resulting in 154 deaths and over 300 heat-related illnesses. Pritchard urges you to listen to your body; slow down and limit physical activity; do things early in the morning or evening — not high noon; wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing; and drink lots of liquids — the right kinds of liquids. “Water is still the best thing; alcohol will do more harm than good, and avoid caffeine.”
Pritchard says the most vulnerable people in our community are even more vulnerable during heat waves. That means children and the elderly. “…Because their bodies just are not able to handle severe heat. All of us need to be careful, but those folks really need to be careful.”
Pritchard says it’s important to stay cool to keep you and your family safe, but he admits that’s easier said than done. When the temp is above 95 and you don’t have A/C, turn the fan around to blow that hot air out of the house. He says you could go see a movie, shop at the mall, visit the library, or hang out at a friend’s house.
Be aware of cramps or muscle spasms, heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, fainting, extremely high body temperature, rapid pulse, confusion, and unconsciousness. Before things get bad, Pritchard suggests you take a cool shower to cool down your body temperature. And, he says, under no circumstances should any person or pet be left inside a vehicle for any length of time. A car can heat up dramatically in a matter of minutes, even with a cracked window. Madison Police, on Monday, cited a 42-year-old Sun Prairie man for leaving a dog in a car for over 15 minutes. The temperature was 93 at the time, and police said the dog was stuck in a vehicle that was 100 degrees or hotter.
Visit ReadyWisconsin.wi.gov for more info.