May 24, 2021 | Lansing, MI | AMN – Concerted efforts are being made in Michigan to increase public awareness on the dangers of heat stroke through exposure to high temperatures. As a result, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proclaiming May 28, 2021, as Heat Stroke Prevention Awareness Day.
Heat stroke occurs when the body overheats, usually due to exposure to high temperatures. Most heat stroke deaths in vehicles are among children age five and under, and more than half of those deaths are in children under the age of two. Since 1998, there have been at least 882 deaths of children in the United States, 10 of which were in Michigan.
“Studies show that incidents can occur on days even with mild temperatures such as 70 degrees, and the temperature in vehicles can become life-threatening very quickly,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). “Children are less able to maintain a consistent internal body temperature, and their bodies warm at a rate three to five times faster than an adult. Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car, even if windows are cracked open.”
Heat-related deaths in vehicles are 100% preventable, and Michigan Penal Code prohibits a person responsible for the care or welfare of a child under age six unattended in a vehicle for a period of time which may risk harm or injury to the child.
The CDC recommends taking the following steps to avoid heat stroke and heat-related illnesses:
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids, and stay away from very sugary or alcoholic drinks.
- Replace salt and minerals: heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from your skin. A sports drink can replace lost salt and minerals from sweating.
- Stay informed: check your local news for extreme heat alerts.
- Know the signs of heat-related illness.
MDHHS Injury and Violence Prevention Program will continue to collect data and monitor incidents of vehicle-related and heat stroke-related deaths in children.