Temperatures have been soaring this summer, and the heat won’t abate any time soon.
This month has seen the thermometer above average with plenty of days in the 90s and more on the way.
Doug Outlaw, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the weather will continue to be hot and humid with scattered afternoon to evening showers and thunderstorms.
“We don't see that pattern breaking any time soon,” he said. “It’s going to remain hot and humid, at least going into August.”
In June, Charlotte set a new record temperature of 101 degrees.
Outlaw said there haven’t been any record-breaking temperatures since then, but temps have been above normal.
“The average temperature is 1.7 degrees above normal so far in July,” he said.
July’s hottest day as of Tuesday, was 99 degrees on the 7th, although it wasn’t a record.
Outlaw said Shelby has also been dry and has seen less rain than surrounding areas, receiving as much as four inches less than other areas.
“It tends to cause problems when it gets too hot,” he said. “People become dehydrated when they stay out in it too long.”
Emergency calls on the rise
Sammy Davis, a major with Cleveland County EMS, said heat-related emergency calls have increased this year.
“So far this year [May 1 to July 24] we have a call volume increase of almost 37% specific to heat-related emergencies compared to the same time frame of 2021,” Davis said.
There have been 26 heat-related calls in 2022.
He said calls range from heat stroke or heat exhaustion to dehydration or someone simply being warmer than normal after being outside.
Davis said to his knowledge, there have been no deaths resulting from the high temperatures.
People who are especially vulnerable for heat-related illnesses include children younger than 4, adults older than 65 and anyone with a pre-existing health condition.
Heat safety tips
When possible, avoid activities in the warmest parts of the day (noon to 3 p.m.)
Wear weather-appropriate clothing: light colored and loose fitting/breathable fabrics like cotton or moisture wicking material.
Seek shade and take breaks often
Wear sunscreen. Sunburn reduces the body's ability to cool down.
Stay hydrated. Be aware that water needs vary from person to person. Those with health conditions such as heart failure or kidney disease may need to limit fluid intake. Speak with your doctor about specific hydration needs. In general, two to four 8-ounce glasses of water per hour are recommended during activities. No one should wait until feeling thirsty to hydrate. Carry water and drink gradually throughout the day. Too much at once can make you feel sick.
While it's not fun to talk about, a person's urine is the best indication of hydration status; in general, the lighter the color, the better they're hydrated
When to get help
Heat exhaustion symptoms include headache, cramps, nausea/vomiting and brief episodes of fainting. If experiencing these symptoms, stop all activity and move to a cooler place. Put a cool, wet cloth on the neck and face and hydrate.
Heat stroke symptoms include those of heat exhaustion as well as altered mental status and a body temperature greater than 103 degrees.
In addition to following the steps for heat exhaustion, call 911.
If ever unsure of what to do in any emergency, call 911 immediately.
Keep it cool
The heat doesn’t just have an impact on human health, but can also affect the wallet with increased cooling costs and problems with home air conditioning systems.
Allen Mash, lead technician with CSI Mechanical, said there are some things homeowners can do to prevent problems before the summer heat begins.
He said 97 percent of failures are electrical related and a result of dirty coils or loose connections.
Mash said getting a general inspection can head off problems right out of the gate.
“We look for shorts and loose connections so we can prevent these failures from occurring,” he said.
Another tip to keep cool air flowing is to make sure to change out air filters on a monthly basis.
“What I do is when I pay my electric bill, I normally change my filter because when it's out of sight, it’s out of mind,” Mash said.
He recommended getting in the habit of changing the filter out each time you pay your monthly bill.
This article originally appeared on The Shelby Star: Above average temperatures can lead to increased health risks