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Extreme Heat/Cold
On average, about 175 Americans die from heat-related conditions each year. Sweltering heat waves push that number much higher. CDC statistics show 8,015 heat-related deaths across the U.S. from 1979-1999. One heat wave alone caused 1,250 deaths around the nation.

Seven people died from heat-related illness in 2004, according to the Georgia Department of Human Resources. Approximately 75 more were treated in hospitals around the state for heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

CDC experts say several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. With high humidity, sweat evaporates slowly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other risk factors include age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use. The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. But anyone can succumb to heat if they do strenuous physical activities in hot weather.

To cope with heat, drink two to four glasses of cool liquids every hour and wear sunscreen, light-colored clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat. Never leave children or pets in a parked car in the summer.

Extremely cold weather is rare in Georgia, but when temperatures do drop these tips can help you stay safe while you stay warm:
  • If you use portable heaters, be sure they have an automatic safety shut-off switch and never leave children unattended in rooms with portable heaters.
  • Supervise children and pets at all times when a portable space heater is in use.
  • Never use space heaters to dry flammable items such as clothing or blankets.
  • Keep all flammable objects at least three feet from space heaters.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level, test them monthly and replace batteries at least yearly.
  • If any appliances or heating devices in your home produce carbon monoxide (CO), be sure to install CO detectors in your home and then test and properly maintain the detectors.
  • Have a qualified service technician check and clean your heating system every year.