Health experts warn of heat exposure risks as summer temps ramp up

Happy Children Together Splashing Water
Children in water on hot summertime
Photo courtesy of Storyblocks

MADIOSN, Wis. — Summer is great for a lot of reasons, chief among them is spending time outdoors. But UW Health experts say the dangers of hot summer weather can sneak up quickly.

Last year, seven people in Wisconsin died due to overexposure, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. A total of 689 people went to emergency departments and 67 were hospitalized for the same reason.

As temperatures continue to climb during the summer months, health experts are warning the public to be cautious and take extra steps to limit their exposure.

“Summer is a time we all like to get outside for leisure, but we have to plan ahead,” Rishelle Eithun, manager of UW Health’s Child Health Advocacy Program said. “Even a trip to the store can be dangerous when it’s extremely hot.”

While outdoor temperatures can be dangerous on their own, those temperatures can become deadly within minutes inside of a vehicle. That’s why health experts say it’s critical not to leave the vulnerable, especially children, the elderly and pets, unattended in a car.

“Unfortunately, caregivers can forget their little ones are with them in the car when they run an errand or when they get home, leaving them in the vehicle and in a potentially dangerous situation,” Eithun said.

If you’re outside in hot temperatures, simple things like staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol, avoiding the outdoors during the hottest part of the day, and keeping an eye out for signs of overheating — including dizziness, nausea, feeling weak or muscle cramps — can keep you cool and safe.