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Interview with Center For Disease Control and Prevention: How hot is too hot

With summertime here and temperatures soaring, everyone is asking how hot is too hot. Well, that’s a question we here at examiner have asked the Center For Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s 90 degrees here in New York and feels like 95’. Humidity is at 50% and the dew point is at 69’. Though there’s an 87% chance of a thunderstorm unless it's a sun shower, I just don’t see it happening.

As my first official “new” disease and illness article, which will allow me to bring you more news, we wanted to make sure we covered something everyone would find informative and helpful. With the east coast of the United States heating up to an unusual extent, people need to know how to stay cool if they don’t have an air conditioner.

Each year we hear stories in the news about pets being left in vehicles or even young children on a hot day and these stories never end well. We want to take the time to remind people, Please, don’t leave young children or pets in your vehicles unattended.

Dress your children as comfortable as you would be dressed, drink lots of fluids, use sun protection and stay cool. If you have pets be sure to give them the same comforts that you have, no pet wants to be out in the heat without food or water nor shade.

The question we are asking today, you may find unusual. How hot is too hot in one’s home? What are the danger signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and how do we stay cool.

We contacted the Center for Disease and Illness looking for specific information on home safety dealing with temperatures in the home for babies, elderly people, those with medical conditions, even pets left unattended in the home.

On July 1, 2014, a spokesperson for the CDC gave us this statement, “This is an important issue especially given that older adults and young children often spend many hours in a home and are vulnerable populations to the effects of extreme heat.

It is difficult to answer your first question, how hot is too hot, because extreme heat conditions will vary depending on what part of the country you live in. CDC defines extreme heat or hot conditions as “summertime temperatures that are substantially hotter and/or more humid than average for a location at that time of year.”

Having said that, a key message is that research has shown that air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk for heat-related health affects by spending time in public facilities (e.g. libraries, malls and cooling centers) that are air-conditioned.

If an older or infirmed persons cannot go to the shopping center or library then other possible solutions are to take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath; have someone make in house visits to check that home bound person is not getting dehydrated; and use fans to push hot air out of living spaces.

People can be overwhelmed with the heat and suffer heat stroke while in their homes especially if they live on the top floor of an apartment building, live alone, lack access to air conditioning, or are bedridden.

Please see the attached article of a landmark CDC study in Chicago and also visit CDC’s extreme heat website.

Symptoms of heat-related illness are similar whether exposed to hot temperatures in a home or outside and warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include:

  • Extreme high body temperature (above 103 F)
  • Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness, nausea, confusion; and unconsciousness

We want to thank CDC for talking with us. Please be sure to check out the links provided and everyone stay cool.

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