MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Dangerous heat over the holiday killed three people in Shelby County. Last year, the Shelby County Health Department recorded eight heat-related deaths. Three of those happened in June alone.
Dr. Helen Morrow with the Shelby County Health Department says, “We know that the very young and very old are most susceptible.”
However, everyone is at risk. The three victims are between the ages of 50 and 60 years old. All were found in their homes. One victim lived in a home with no utility service. The latest victim was found dead in her home with the air conditioner off. The temperature in the home had climbed into the lower 90’s. Each victim had underlying health issues, but heat was a contributing factor to their death.
“We know obesity is a risk factor for heat-related deaths. People who are on special medications for diabetes and hypertension are more susceptible,” says Dr. Morrow.
Circulating the hot and humid air in your home is important. If you do not have a working air conditioner, open windows and turn on fans to keep cool. Your body needs a break from the heat. When you are sleeping, you are unaware of how hot your home may be without the air conditioner running.
Many hospitals have reported treating people for heat-related illnesses. Currently, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital is treating two patients a day with heat-related symptoms.
Heat exhaustion can appear as a headache, nausea, and dizziness. At the sign of these symptoms, you should seek an air conditioned building to cool off. Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. Signs of heat stroke are an increased heart rate and neurological changes. Dr. Morrow says no one should ignore any warning signs related to excessive heat.