Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391
Hot and humid conditions like those associated with summer in Indiana pose a real risk for heat related illness, especially when the temperature moves above 90 degrees and the humidity exceeds 30 percent. These two factors combine to create the heat index. A heat index of 105 degrees is considered the level where many people begin to experience extreme discomfort or physical stress.
"Any heat wave should be taken seriously," said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director, Marion County Health Department.
Although Marion County has not experienced a heat-related death since 2002, there were 4 heat-related deaths recorded in the county from 2000-2002. "Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can affect anyone who does not use proper preventative measures," said Dr. Caine.
Elderly people, infants, alcoholics, chronically ill, overweight people and persons on certain medications are most susceptible to heat-related illness. Those with cardiac or pulmonary problems also are at higher risk in this type of weather.
Never leave infants, children or pets in parked cars under any circumstances, especially in hot and humid weather conditions.
The threat to senior citizens is heightened because they generally don�t sweat as efficiently as younger people, thus making it more difficult to adjust to high heat and humidity. Those age three and under also are more likely to experience heat-related illness.