Summer is now officially underway and with temperatures rising, it’s important to take some precautions when you’re outdoors and even in your own home on particularly hot days. When planning an outdoor activity, the first thing to do is understand what kind of weather you’re going to be dealing with throughout the day. The Earth’s atmosphere stores heat, so while it is understood that the Sun is directly overhead at noon, temperatures will continue to rise for several hours into the afternoon. Besides checking the temperature, it is even more important to know the heat index, or apparent temperature. Heat index essentially tells you how hot you’re going to feel when you’re outside. When we get too hot, our bodies perspire to cool us down. Specifically, it is the evaporation of sweat on the surface of our skin that has the cooling effect necessary to regulate body temperature. However, elevated humidity levels slow this process down, so when the temperature is 90°F and the humidity is at 70%, it will feel like its 106°F because your body is going to have a more difficult time cooling itself down with perspiration. Having this information and preparing accordingly will reduce your risk of heat stress and hyperthermia.
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