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The silent killer: Heat is number one weather releated killer in US


At least 70 people are dead in Canada, following another heat wave that has gripped the country. The sweltering heat wave has not only affected Canada, but a good portion of the northern hemisphere as summer is in full swing.

Just this year, Mid-Missouri has already seen 30 days of 90-plus degree days, with multiple days dealing with dangerous heat. It’s this heat that can be deadly and leaves on average 134 people dead each year. Tornadoes and hurricanes may get all the attention, but the data doesn’t lie as heat is the number one weather related killer in the US.

Data provided by the National Weather Services shows that there has been a three percent increase in in average deaths, compared to years past.

While each year the number of deaths can vary, it can greatly depend on the intensity and longevity of a summertime ridge.

Last year the country saw 107 deaths from heat, with elderly accounting for more than sixty percent of those deaths.

As the climate continues to change, we’re seeing stronger and longer heatwaves, which is increasing our risk of a heat related illness. While many complications may occur as a result of summertime heat, staying indoors and drinking plenty of water is beneficial in preventing serious health issues from occurring.

So what makes heat a silent killer and why is it so dangerous?

Our bodies create a tremendous amount of heat and is pretty efficient at getting rid of that heat. However, in the humid conditions we are seeing right now our bodies aren’t able to cool off effectively. When this occurs, heat illnesses can suddenly sneak up on us and at times we’re too late to prevent them. It’s for this reason that it’s extremely important to remain vigilant and drink plenty of water. One of the earliest signs you should look for when it comes to heat illness is stomach cramping and nausea. When this sets in, it’s time to step back and recover from the heat.

Stay with ABC 17 Stormtrack as we continue to monitor the current heat wave and follow us on Twitter @ABC17Stormtrack.

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