Surviving summer's blast of hot air

Posted 7/10/18

It has been said many times, and in many ways, that “if you do not like the weather in the South, just wait a few hours and it will change.” This is true in Bradley County as each year we usually …

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Surviving summer's blast of hot air


It has been said many times, and in many ways, that “if you do not like the weather in the South, just wait a few hours and it will change.”

This is true in Bradley County as each year we usually have four very distinct seasons, and less than three weeks into the 2018 summer season leaves no doubt that it is indeed going to be another hot time of the year.

There are many across our county who are employed in an occupation that requires that they be outside, in the heat of our summers and also the cold of our winters.

Many farmers spend countless hours outdoors and we still have many such as myself that have livestock and many animals on farms all across Bradley County and our region. These people who are outside and beyond the comforts of air-conditioning, are in my opinion deserving of great respect as they have adapted to this requirement and have followed the needed recommendations to not only survive in the temperature extremes, but to also, in many cases, have done so for decades.

According to FEMA, in most of the U.S. extreme heat is defined as a long period (two to three days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above the 90-degree mark. We have definitely met that level of temperature extremes and the medically fragile, elderly and also infants are placed in greater risk during this heat.

Please check on family members, drink plenty of fluids, watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, wear light clothing, avoid strenuous activities and find air conditioning — if possible — to have the best chance of surviving this season of extreme heat.

While it is too late to prepare in advance of this heat, it is time to be safe and also have a “refresher course” on how to recognize and respond to heat-related illnesses.

Never leave a child, adult or an animal alone in a vehicle on a warm day. If you are outside, find shade and also remember to wear a hat with a brim wide enough to protect you face. Remember to wear loose, light-weight and light-colored clothing, and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

An electric fan is not recommended when the temperature outside is over 95 degrees as you could increase the chance of a heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and may also give a false sense of comfort, but, at this temperature, do not reduce body temperature.

FEMA also recommends that we all know the signs, and the ways, to treat heat-related illness. Listed first is the term "heat cramps." This is present when accompanied by the signs of muscle pain or spasms in the stomach, arms and leg areas.

Ideal actions to take would be to go to a cooler location, and remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if these same symptoms last more than an hour.

They list "heat exhaustion" next, and this is accompanied by the signs of heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, nausea, possible vomiting and also fainting.

Recommended actions to take are again, if possible to find an air conditioned location and to then lie down. Loosen, or if possible, remove clothing and once again sip cool sports drinks with salt and sugar included.

Get medical help if symptoms were to get worse or last more than one hour.

Their final classification is listed as "heat stroke" with the following signs of an extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) indicated by an oral thermometer; red, hot and dry skin with no sweat present, a rapid, strong pulse with either dizziness, confusion and possible loss of consciousness.

Actions to help ensure a successful recovery and outcome involve calling 9-1-1 immediately or get the person to a hospital setting immediately, and use any methods available until medical help or intervention arrives.

Thank you to all of those across our community who may work inside in an air-conditioned building, or those who are stationed all across our beautiful county in the great outdoors.

Please know that your efforts to contribute to our economy and our community are appreciated. Remember to take the time to not only protect yourself and your family, but also please check on those around you who may need a little help or assistance to get thorough these temperature extremes as we all work together to improve Bradley County.

These actions and protections help to ensure that Bradley County remains Tennessee, at its best!


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