I’ve been in earthquakes, firestorms, and hurricanes. I’ve been in a storm cellar when a tornado passed outside. All of these natural disasters are powerful dramas, taking and changing lives where they appear. But in the United States, heat waves kill more people each year than all other natural disasters combined!
A wonderful article in the August 13, 2002 New York Times chronicles the statistics. In a heat wave, the temperature is higher than normal for that area. Whether it’s a baby at the beach on a hot day, a toddler left in a sweltering car, or a budding young athlete at an exhausting practice in the sun, heat injuries are real problems for children. Usually, the smaller the child, the less likely he is to be able to tolerate heat, especially if he is already a bit dehydrated or has a fever, and if there is poor air circulation. But heat injuries can occur at any age.
Sports and physical activity are generally beneficial and healthy for adolescents; nevertheless, heat injuries are among the leading causes of sports deaths.
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