National Heat Awareness Day
The last Friday in May, which is May 27 this year, is observed as National Heat Awareness Day. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Weather Service celebrate National Heat Awareness Day to raise awareness of the (preventable) health dangers associated with heat. The goal is to reduce the overall rate of illnesses and deaths due to heat.
The National Heat Awareness Day was created to encourage employers and workers to recognize the warning signs for heat illness and be vigilant about maintaining worker safety. While the day is centered on the workplace, it raises awareness about the dangers of heat for everyone, including pets.
History of National Heat Awareness Day
National Heat Awareness Day was established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Weather Service, both agencies of the U.S. Federal Government. Though there are no records of the first observance of this day, we have chosen to include it due to the importance of the day and how it represents what we stand for as a society.
Every year, in the U.S. alone, people suffer and die from heat-induced illnesses, which could easily have been prevented with the right protective measures and interventions. Outdoor workers (such as farmers and manual laborers), young children, the elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to heat. Climate change and the crisis of global warming have a definite correlation with the rise in heat waves over the past few decades.
Significance of National Heat Awareness Day
The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about high-temperature-related issues. It is also observed to encourage the consumption of water to avoid heat-related illnesses. Americans still tend to underestimate the health risks associated with extreme heat or cold, even though it is the deadliest weather condition in the country. Pollution causes temperatures to rise earlier each year, so the heat of summer arrives earlier every year. As a result, it is imperative that the nation at large starts to take notice that there are many groups in need of protection from an unexpected killer.
Some Important Facts
In 2020, the National Weather Service recorded a temperature of 130°F at Death Valley National Park, California. This might be the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on earth.
Heatwaves can kill through dehydration caused by heavy sweating; altered sodium and potassium concentrations in the blood confuse both the heart and nervous system, resulting in sudden halts in breathing or heartbeat, according to DownToEarth.
Fatigue/weakness, headaches, and confusion or dizziness are common symptoms of both heat exhaustion and heatstroke.