State officials warn: Remember children, elderly during heat
INDIANAPOLIS -- Temperatures have lowered slightly, but State health officials want to remind Hoosiers that heat can still be dangerous, even deadly.
Heat kills more people than tornadoes, hurricanes and floods combined, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is the number one cause of weather-related fatalities.
Children are especially susceptible to the heat Every year, approximately 38 children die nationwide as a result of being left alone in parked vehicles. Children's body temperatures rise faster than adults, making them more vulnerable to heat stroke. Heat stroke doesn't just happen in the summer, it can easily happen in other seasons. On an 80 degree day, the temperature inside a car can rise 19 degrees in just 10 minutes.
"Children should never be left in a parked vehicle alone, even for a moment," said Joan Duwve, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at the Indiana State Department of Health. "The temperature inside a parked vehicle rises very quickly to dangerous levels, even if the windows are open."
If you see a child alone in a parked vehicle, call 911 immediately. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency and can cause seizures, permanent brain injury. If the windows are open or doors unlocked, remove the child from the vehicle and wait with the child until help arrives.
About half of vehicle-related heat fatality deaths in children occur because caregivers forgot the child was in the vehicle.
Some simple steps can help you keep the children you care for safe:
Never leave a child alone in a car even with the windows down -- not even for a minute.
Put something on the floor of the back seat. This will help remind you to check the back before leaving the car.
Lock car doors when the vehicle is parked, and keep your keys out of reach of young children.
Teach children not to play in or around cars.
If your child is missing, check the inside of your car and trunk.
The elderly are also extremely susceptible to the heat. People aged 65 years or older are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Certain medications may make alter thier senses. Elderly people may also be more likely to live in without air conditioning, or to turn the air conditioning off to save money.
Check on home-bound and elderly family members and neighbors to make sure they are staying cool.
For more information about protecting yourself during extreme temperatures, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety" at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat /heat_guide.asp.
To visit the Indiana State Department of Health's website, go to www.StateHealth. in.gov.