Reminder: Be careful with the heat this summer


In the midst of near-record breaking temperatures in Richmond this week, the Virginia Department of Social Services is making an effort to remind everyone about the proper safety with the hottest part of the year.

Excessive heat exposure presents health and safety dangers, especially for children and the elderly. High body temperatures and dehydration from heat exposure can damage the brain and other vital organs, and even result in death. Therefore, says the VDSS, it is important to stay cool, as well as stay vigilant for situations that can become fatal.

“Summer days are for everyone to enjoy, especially children, but too much heat isn’t good for anyone,” said VDSS Commissioner Martin D. Brown in a press release. “Too often, our local departments of social services see the negative – and sometimes tragic – results of a child, senior citizen or person with an illness or disabilities having been left unattended without proper cooling.”

Some tips to stay safe in the heat:

Drink 2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour.

If you can, stay in an air-conditioned area. If you don’t have air-conditioning, contact your local health department to see if there are heat-relief shelters near you.

Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Never leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even if windows are partially open. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), temperatures inside a car can climb from 78 degrees to 100 degrees in just three minutes, to 125 degrees in 6-8 minutes. When left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times as fast as an adult.

According to the VDSS, applications for cooling assistance are still being accepted until August 15th. Anyone who needs immediate help to beat the heat can call 211 or visit online at 211Virginia.org.

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