Wisconsin Heat Awareness Day is observed on June 6. While many people look forward to the warmer summer temperatures, it’s important to remember that hot conditions can turn dangerous quickly and pose a risk to health and safety.
According to the Department of Health Services, 39 people have died in Wisconsin over the last five years and thousands of residents have fallen ill or even been hospitalized due to heat-related conditions. Nationwide there are an average of 618 deaths in the U.S. each year caused by extreme heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Lincoln County has a higher rate of emergency room visits due to heat stress than Wisconsin as a whole,” states Kristin Bath, Public Health Educator for Lincoln County Health Department. “Lincoln County’s rate of emergency visits is 19.7 per 100,000, and Wisconsin’s rate is 16.5 per 100,000.”
Lincoln County is fortunate to have locally designated cooling centers in Merrill, Tomahawk and Gleason. A cooling center is an air-cooled facility where Lincoln County residents are invited to get relief from extreme heat. We would like to thank the following businesses and organizations that have agreed to participate as a cooling center this year. Cooling center signage will be displayed at each location.
In addition to seeking relief from the heat at local cooling centers, individuals should take the following steps to be safe in the sun this summer.
- Drink lots of water.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea and sodas.
- Limit outside activity to early morning or late evenings.
- Avoid going outside in extreme heat.
- If you don’t have air conditioning, keep shades drawn and blinds closed, but windows slightly open.
- Rotate ceiling fans counter clockwise.
- Keep electric lights off or turned down.
- Limit the use of the stove.
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing.
- Take cool baths and showers.
- Don’t leave anyone (including pets) in a parked car – even for a few minutes.
- Check up on family, friends, and neighbors during extreme heat. If you are unable to reach them, call 911 and request a well-being check.