The arrival of June means people across Wisconsin can expect hotter temperatures across the state in the months ahead. To help encourage everyone to be prepared, Gov. Tony Evers has declared this Wednesday, June 3 Heat Awareness Day in Wisconsin.
“While the warmer weather is great for spending time outdoors, the heat can turn dangerous quickly if you’re not ready,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator. “That’s why it is so important for everyone to be able to recognize the signs of heat-related illness and what they can do to remain safe when temperatures climb.”
In 2019, preliminary figures from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show five people died in Wisconsin due to heat-related causes. In the last five years, at least 17 people have died in Wisconsin and thousands of residents have fallen ill or been hospitalized due to heat-related conditions.
Those most vulnerable include very young children, the elderly, and people with heart disease or high blood pressure. Individuals who are overweight or on certain medications may also be more susceptible to illnesses during extreme heat events.
Many victims of heat-related illnesses are elderly or have mobility issues. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to make sure those who are socially isolated are remaining safe when temperatures climb.
The inside of a car can be especially dangerous. On an 80-degree Fahrenheit day, temperatures in a vehicle parked in direct sunlight can climb almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. Never leave a child or pet inside a parked car. Leaving a window cracked is not enough.
Tips for staying safe during extreme heat:
• Stay cool — Remain inside air-conditioned buildings as much as possible during the hottest parts of the day and avoid direct sunlight.
• Stay aware — Watch for signs of heat-related illnesses, such as weakness, dizziness, nausea, and muscle cramps. If symptoms don’t improve, seek medical attention.
• Stay hydrated — Drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink!
• Stay informed — Pay attention to local weather forecasts and extreme heat alerts.