It may seem like summer has been here for a while, since the kids haven’t been in school for months. Saturday was the first official day with the summer solstice taking place. 

But all you have to do is look at the month on the calendar and know that hot weather is coming — and soon.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency advises that extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning. Children, older adults and overweight individuals are at the most risk from extreme heat. 

Extreme heat is a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days. Your body has to work even harder to maintain a normal temperature in extreme heat and that can lead to death. Extreme heat is responsible for the most deaths from weather-related hazards, according to the GEMA.

The National Weather Service advises that is never safe to a leave a child, disabled person or pet locked in the car, even during winter. If you have a toddler in the household, keep the vehicle locked, as children have a tendency to go into vehicles when playing outside. There were 51 kids who died in hot cars in 2019 and 2020.

There are ways, though, to beat the heat and its effects. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following tips:

• Wear appropriate clothing. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

• Stay cool indoors. Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Keep in mind: Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.

• Schedule outdoor activities carefully. Limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, such as morning and evening hours.

• Pace yourself. Cut down on exercise during the heat. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, stop all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.

• Wear sunscreen. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions

The National Weather Service advises that is never safe to a leave a child, disabled person or pet locked in the car, even during winter. If you have a toddler in the household, keep the vehicle locked, as children have a tendency to go into vehicles when playing outside. There were 51 kids who died in hot cars in 2019 and 2020.

It is about to get hot, very hot, in south Georgia. Don’t let the heat make it a tragic summer for you and your loved ones. 

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