Although many of us in cool and rainy Michigan might be surprised to hear it, warm weather is creeping into the forecast. And along with increasing temps, there is a greater risk for heat-related injuries. Generally speaking, these ailments are lumped under the heading of “hyperthemia.”
Hyperthermia occurs when the body overheats and can no longer effectively cool itself. It can be caused by very high temperatures, overexertion, dehydration, certain medical conditions, or a combination of these factors. Young children and the elderly are particularly at risk, but heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and other injuries can affect anyone who is not careful.
One of the most common – and tragic – instances of hyperthermic injuries occurs when a parent leaves a child alone in a vehicle on a warm day. In some cases, the parent may forget the child is in the car; in others, the parent may think leaving the child for a few moments will not cause any harm. Unfortunately, the temperature inside the vehicle can rise very, very quickly to dangerous levels. According to the NHTSA, at least 27 deaths per year occur in this manner. The number of injuries and illnesses is likely to be much higher.
Remembering a few key rules can help you and your family stay safe:
- NEVER leave a child alone in a vehicle or let children play in or around your vehicle.
- Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
- Do not overexert yourself and avoid activity during the hottest parts of the day.
Now that summer is here, we can finally enjoy the warm weather. Just be sure to take the simple steps necessary to keep it safe and fun.