Heat is the number one weather killer in the United States, far exceeding death by tornadoes and severe storms. An average of 146 people die from heat-related causes every year.
Last year, Wisconsin had 27 confirmed heat-related deaths, most during five days of excessive heat warnings from July 2-6. The heat index rose to 105 F degrees for 48 hours with nighttime lows of 75 F. It was the second hottest and third longest heat wave in Wisconsin. None of the victims had air conditioning and did not seek shelter at one of the many cooling centers around the state.
The Door County Public Health Department encourages everyone to take precautions for health and safety during the heat events occurring throughout the state.
“When two very hot days are joined with hot nights and high humidity, we have a dangerous heat wave that could hurt a lot of people,” said Rhonda Kolberg, director/health officer of the Door County Public Health Department. “People should take this heat wave seriously and try and prevent any problems before they occur.”
Door County has designated the libraries and the Senior Center as cooling centers. People should use these cooling centers if needed. These include the Door County Senior Center and all of the libraries in Door County, which are the branches in Baileys Harbor, Egg Harbor, Ephraim, Fish Creek, Forestville, Sister Bay-Liberty Grove, Sturgeon Bay and Washington Island. The hours of operation of these library branches vary and can be located on the Door County website or by calling the library branch.
People at higher risk of heat-related illness include:
• Older adults
• Those with heart or lung problems
• Infants and young children
• Overweight and obese people
• People with disabilities
• Those who work outdoors
• Users of some medications, especially some drugs for mental disorders, or heart or circulatory problems
• Isolated individuals who won’t know when or how to cool off or call for help
BEAT THE HEAT
• Never leave children, high-risk individuals or pets in a car, even briefly.
• Make use of the cooling centers or other public spaces that are cooled.
• Keep your living space cool!
• Slow down. Drink plenty. Eat lightly. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored clothes.
• Infants should drink breast milk or formula to get the correct balance of water, salts and energy.
• Easy ways to cool off include: a cool (not cold) bath or shower works faster than an air conditioner; a trip to an air-conditioned lobby or the basement; or cold wet rags applied to neck, head and limbs.
• Don’t stop medicines unless your doctor says so! Take extra care to stay cool, and ask your doctor or pharmacist for any special heat advice.