[caption id="attachment_20763" align="alignright" width="284"] Heat Bubble for the week of July 18, 2016 via NOAA[/caption] We’re in for summer now. A “bubble” of high air pressure could bring the hottest temperature of the year along with above-average humidity to most of the United States by the end of this week, according to forecasters. In the Midwest, high temperatures and high humidity could push the heat index – a measure of how hot the air “feels” – to the 105-110 degree range, according to the National Weather Service. High heat plus humidity can be deadly. Sweating is the body’s way to cool itself, but humidity keeps sweat from evaporating as quickly, which means it’s less efficient. This makes heat-related illness and death more likely, especially in places where air conditioning is less common. In 1995, at least 465 people died during Chicago’s worst recorded heat wave. Air conditioning is the best way to prevent heat-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When the temperature is above 80 degrees, electric fans just circulate hot air. Being in air conditioning for even a few hours every day will decrease the chances of heat-related illness. Some municipalities sponsor cooling centers – air-conditioned buildings like libraries, community centers and senior centers – where people may go during extreme heat emergencies. If possible, consider buying a portable generator, like this one from Emergency Essentials. Air conditioning demands during Chicago’s 1995 heat wave knocked out power to 49,000 households for two days. Dress for the heat in loose-fitting, light clothing and a broad-brimmed hat. Always use sunscreen. Sunburn makes the body struggle to cool itself and causes fluid loss. People need about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily according to ready.gov. Some need more: children, nursing mothers, sick people, those who are exercising, and people in a warm climate. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double. The body needs to replace water and nutrients lost in sweating. Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they cause you to lose water faster. [caption id="attachment_20764" align="alignright" width="300"] Toxic algae blooming in Utah Lake - via KUTV[/caption] Have backup water. A toxic algae bloom in a major Utah waterway prompted Salt Lake County Health Department officials to warn residents to avoid using water from any canal in the county. Floods can also contaminate water supplies, rendering them useless. Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Heat Exhaustion: Confusion, dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration), Dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headache, muscle or abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, pale skin, profuse sweating, and rapid heartbeat. Heat Stroke: Core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, fainting, throbbing headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, lack of sweating despite teh heat, red hot & dry skin, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat (which may be either strong or weak), rapid shallow breathing, behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering, and seizures If you see someone suffering from heat-related illness, get them into the shade and cool them with water. Water from a cool shower or garden hose works just fine. Get the person to medical care as soon as possible. Have fun and be safe this sweaty summer.