Heat-related death may be one of the causes of funerals at funeral homes in Glade Hill, VA. Officially, in the United States, heat is responsible for 600 deaths each year, but new research shows that figure may significantly undercount the actual number of deaths that can be attributed to heat.
A new study has found that heat may be responsible for the deaths of more than 5,000 Americans each year. What is even more surprising in this research is that, more often than not, it is moderate heat that kills people instead of extreme heat.
What the researchers concluded is that the danger of a hot day depends on where you live. For example, in Virginia, temperatures of 85° or above during the summer are not unusual and longtime residents have acclimated to those temperatures and they know what precautions to take in that kind of heat.
However, an 85° day in Alaska is highly unusual. Therefore, residents in Alaska are more susceptible to the effects of this kind of moderate heat and they are more likely to die from conditions related to it.
The reasons for this are many.
In Virginia, for example, it is rare to find a home or an office that doesn’t have central heat and central air. Air conditioning is usually turned on in the late spring and not turned off, sometimes, until later in autumn.
However, because temperatures generally are much cooler in Alaska, most homes and offices don’t have any kind of air-conditioning. So, when moderately hot weather shows up, as it did in the summer of 2019, Alaskans have no way to effectively cool down.
Without adequate cooling measures, dehydration and heatstroke are much more likely to occur, which, in turn, can be deadly.
This new study, which used data from the US national center for health statistics on deaths in the most populated areas of America from 1997 to 2006, found as well is that that moderate heat is responsible for more than 3,300 deaths in the United States each year, while extreme heat is responsible for approximately 2,300 deaths. This is much higher than the official number recorded by death certificates.
As more people are living with COVID-19 restrictions this summer, researchers anticipate an even higher number of heat-related deaths. That’s because public cooling centers and air-conditioned spaces, like restaurants and malls, must abide by capacity limitations and social distancing guidelines.
Therefore, the same number of people who may have had access to places where they could’ve cooled down during the summer months, if they didn’t have air-conditioning at home, now will not have access to them.
One of the side effects of not having adequate cooling is the increased possibility of infections of all kinds. Bacterial and viral infections can thrive in warm environments. Without any way to keep the temperature cooler and no access to places where temperatures are more comfortable, more people may die from these kind of infections this summer than would in a normal summer.
There are a few ways, however, even during COVID-19, where heat-related deaths could be reduced if there is no access to air conditioning.
One way to keep cooler on hot days and hot nights is to put ice in front of a box fan. As the ice melts, it cools down the air and the fan then blows cooler air throughout the room.
Another way to keep cooler is to run ceiling fans counterclockwise (to push cooler air down) and to make sure that all interior doors in your home are opened (increases the flow of cooler air throughout your home).
For information on arranging funerals at funeral homes in Glade Hill, VA, our compassionate and experienced staff at Conner-Bowman Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help.