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article imageFour dead as extreme heat grips American Southwest

By Karen Graham     Jun 22, 2017 in Health
Dangerously high temperatures have gripped California and the Southwest region of the country this week, bringing some of the hottest temperatures of the year. The heat has been blamed for four deaths and the cancellation of airline flights.
Two people in Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco in California died on Monday. One of the dead was a homeless person found in a car. The victims were only identified as a 72-year-old man and an 87-year-old woman, according to US News.
"It is tragic when someone dies of hyperthermia since in most every case it could have been prevented," Dr. Michelle Jorden of the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office told reporters.
"Hyperthermia and heat stress happens when a body's heat regulation system cannot handle the heat. It can happen to anyone, which is why it is so important to be in a cool location, drink plenty of water and take a cool bath or shower if you are getting too hot," Jorden said.
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And in New Mexico, a Corpus Christie, Texas father and son on a hiking trip through Carlsbad Canyon National Park were found a mile apart on a hiking trail, apparent victims of the 100+ degree heat. New Mexico State Police told an NBC affiliate in New Mexico that the scorching temperatures, which were over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), contributed to the deaths of the 57-year-olf father and his 21-year-old son.
Extreme heat hits the economically disadvantaged the hardest because they have a harder time paying electric bills or even keeping the water on all year, says Kate Goodin, the epidemiology and data services program manager at the Maricopa County, Arizona Department of Public Health.
Goodin said the county saw 136 heat-related deaths in 2016, with one-third being homeless people. Most of the other deaths involved people with non-functioning air-conditioners.
Safety tips for when extreme heat hits
The National Weather Service offered some useful heat safety tips that can be incorporated into a daily routine when extreme heat sets in.
Job sites: Stay hydrated and take breaks inside as often as possible. Remember that in temperatures above 110, you will not know that you are sweating.
Indoors: Check up on the elderly, sick and those without air conditioning.
In vehicles: Never leave children or pets unattended – look before you lock.
Outdoors: Limit strenuous activities and find shade. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol.
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