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Ways to stay cool during Columbia's 'famously hot' summers

Its Heat Safety Week in South Carolina and here are some tips for beating back the high temperatures.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Heat has been the leading cause of weather-related fatalities in the United States since 1991, according to U.S. Natural Hazard statistics.  

The CDC says extreme heat leads to more than 700 deaths each year.

Heat waves are occurring more often than they used to and as we know, the summer heat in the Midlands can be intense.

For that reason, it's important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day. We lose fluids through perspiration, so staying hydrated is crucial to replenishing what we lose. 

Another simple preventative measure is dressing appropriately. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing on hot days. Fabrics that are lightweight are typically more breathable, allowing heat to escape. 

And a good way to beat the heat - stay out of direct sunlight. It’s vital to find shade on a scorching hot day to stay comfortable and safe. It acts as a natural barrier, blocking the sun's UV rays and preventing dehydration.

Children and pets should never be left unattended in parked cars, even for a short period of time. In just 10 minutes, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise by 20 degrees, and cracking the windows barely helps. Each year, 38 kids die after being left in a vehicle, according to the National Weather Service. 88% are under three years old, and 54% are forgotten by a caregiver. Children’s bodies heat up three to five times faster than adults, making them more vulnerable to heat stroke. Similarly, pets, especially dogs, are highly susceptible to heatstroke.

Additionally, make sure vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions, are taken care of. Ensure they have access to air conditioning or a cool place to stay.

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