Ways to protect your family after over a dozen people die in 2022 from heat-related illness

Heat Awareness Day
June 7th is Heat Awareness Day.
June 7th is Heat Awareness Day.(wsaw)
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Heat kills more people than any other weather-related deaths. According to OSHA 18 of the last 19 years were the hottest on record, making it more important than ever to recognize the dangers associated with heat illnesses.

A fun day in the sun can quickly take a turn for the worst when you spend too much time in the heat.

“Some of those health risks can include heat exhaustion or heat stroke,” said Katie Rousonelos, public information officer at Wisconsin Emergency Management.

There were 14 heat-related deaths in Wisconsin in 2022 and more than 700 Wisconsinites visited the Emergency room according to OSHA.

“You start getting dizzy, you get thirsty you have heavy sweating so it’s important to act fast,” said Rousonelos.

When you feel the effects of heat exhaustion, move to a cooler area and drink water.

“Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty because that’s a sign of dehydration,” said Robbie Deede, public health nurse in Oneida County.

Heat stroke is even more serious as it can cause you to lose consciousness.

“There’s going to be confusion and dizziness and the body temperature does rise. you need to act fast and call 911,” said Rousonelos.

“The thing about heat-related injury and illness and death, is it’s 100% preventable,” said Deede.

You can stay safe by following three steps. The first is by staying informed.

“Know what the weather is going to be like where they are going and monitor the forecast,” said Deede.

Next, recognize heat-related illness and what to do. the first sign of heat illness is heat exhaustion. Dizzyness, thirst, heavy sweating, nausea, and weakness are a few.

Finally, stay aware and watch for others.

“If you see someone that’s experiencing heat-related injury say something. many times people who are experiencing heat-related injury don’t recognize it until it’s too late,” said Deede.

It’s also important to check the back seat of your car to make sure you aren’t leaving your kids or pets behind because on an 80-degree day, those temps can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes if it’s parked in the sun, according to Rousonelos.