– The thought of heat exhaustion
never crossed my mind, so what surprised me was how quickly the symptoms came on me. So it was a typical
workday, and after work, I facilitate an exercise program. So, of course, after you’re exercising, you’re kind of hot and
sweaty, and I knew that when I got home, I wanted to walk my dog while I was already hot. I felt OK, and I thought to myself, Well, I’m going to mow my grass. So I mow the front yard,
and I was definitely feeling overheated, but
I thought that I would just go ahead and finish
mowing the backyard. So after mowing a few
rows, I realized I was not feeling very well,
and I kept thinking, I can finish this, but
after a couple of more rows, I was in trouble. I was getting cramps. I was feeling faint. So I finished mowing around eight o’clock in the evening, but by 10 PM
is when I called my daughter. I said, I need some help. – Impacting all of us
today, the extreme heat. – Oh yeah, too hot to be outside for extended periods of time. – Another hot day tomorrow. If we hit 96 at RDU
that would be a record. – The big story is this big old 96. – When we have extremely
hot days, we do see a larger amount of children dealing with asthma exacerbations. Recently, I’ve been
case-managing an eight-year-old little boy whose main trigger is the heat. One of the main issues for him is that he cannot go outside. This year, in North Carolina, early May was extremely hot, to
the point that he was using his rescue medicine every day prior to going outside and trying to play. Another issue he sees
is that he’s not able to sleep in his own bed at night, because they do not have an
air conditioner upstairs. – We know that extremely hot days aren’t just an inconvenience;
they actually kill people. We’ve seen a lot of
increase in heat stroke and heat exhaustion on extremely hot days, but high temperatures are also linked to other health problems,
especially in people who have heart disease, lung
ailments, or kidney problems. Hotter temperatures also
promote the formation of air pollution, or
ground-level smog, in the air that we breathe, so
it’s this double whammy of health effects out there
especially in the summer. That’s a big problem, because we know that there are more than 25 million
Americans living with asthma. Those folks are especially vulnerable on the hot days that we see
air pollution levels rise. Right now, North Carolina
experiences about 10 dangerously hot days each year. If we look into the future, in 2050, the state could experience about 60 dangerously hot days every year. Really hot days can be a big problem for all sorts of people. People working outside, who have no choice whether to be exposed or not
but have to show up to work but also people just
working in their yards, who might be vulnerable
to heat exhaustion. So if we take a step
back from North Carolina, we know that there are
really monumental impacts across the country. About 1,300 people die each
year from extreme heat exposure, and more than 65,000 Americans have to go to the emergency room each year due to health problems
from extreme heat exposure. – We get reports in about the number of emergency department visits
due to heat-related illness, and so when we look at those trends, those numbers getting higher
and higher, it’s alarming. – So back in May, we did see an increase in call volume from our school nurses concerned about patients. We did a lot of school
visits, more so than usual, and I honestly gave a lot
more rescue medication treatments this May
than I have in the past. – All of that medical care
is enormously expensive, and that’s because we’re
not just talking about emergency room visits but
also hospital admissions and lost wages while people
are having to deal with their immediate health problems. – After I had heat exhaustion,
it just became real for me. As a health educator, I knew better, and I just was determined
to be hard-headed that day, and I want others to know,
it can happen to them. – The science tells us that climate change is expected to increase
the frequency, intensity, and duration of heat waves in
the U.S. and around the world. Thankfully, we’re not stuck
with this worst-case scenario of what our future looks like. If we move aggressively
toward cleaner energy sources, we can limit the damage
posed by climate change and also save people from the health risks posed by extreme heat.

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Methew Wade

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