Health Dept.: worst heat dangers still ahead

July 17, 2013 3:24:17 PM PDT
The Health Department in Philadelphia and surrounding counties continue to warn people to be cautious and take the excessive heat seriously.

"It's tough, I mean it seems like it is not ending," said Josh Schnapf.

And it may not be for at least a few more days.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Donald Schwarz says as the number of hot days goes up so does the risk for problems.

"Everyday someone is exposed to heat. They can get increasingly dehydrated, fatigued so they become more vulnerable," said Dr. Schwarz.

That's why he and others continue to remind people to drink lots of fluid, monitor kids and check on seniors.

The reminders seem to make a difference. Officials say there have been no heat related deaths in Philadelphia this year.

Last year Philadelphia had 11 heat-related deaths, in 2011there were 35, and in 2010 there were 15.

Compare those numbers to 1993 when oppressive heat that summer claimed 118 lives in the city.

Chicago saw more than 500 deaths due to heat in 1995.

Dr. Schwarz says as education and awareness increases, there are fewer deaths but the warnings must continue.

"Part of the issue is someone who is a shut in, for instance, may not have been last year so they haven't thought of this issue and people who care for them haven't thought of it either, so we constantly remind that heat is dangerous," said Dr. Schwarz.

Parents on Wednesday, seemed to know the drill.

"As long as he is hydrated he is okay," said Tanner Benson.

Two-year-old Lilly kept cool in the water.

"We've been here since 9:30 running around in the water and we'll hit the AC in the afternoon," said Katie DeSanto, Lilly's mom.

For those without air conditioning, check out a list of area cooling centers.


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