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State sees first death from heat

The first reported death for an Arkansas resident from heat-related causes for 2012 was reported last week by the Arkansas Department of Health. No information about the individual, including age, place of death or gender, can be released due to medical privacy law.

According to Dirk Haselow, director for the Communicable Disease branch, at ADH, “Everyone is vulnerable when the temperatures and humidity stay so high for so long.”

“We are especially concerned for the elderly, the very young, anyone with a chronic disease and anyone who is actively working or playing outside in this heat,” Haselow said. “Those who are living inside without air conditioning are also at risk.”

Hot temperatures and high humidity are a dangerous mix that contributes to illness and death each year. Seventeen Arkansans died due to heat-related illness in 2011. On average, there are 400 heat-related deaths a year in the U.S.

Symptoms of heat-related disorders include the following and should be attended to immediately: Cramps, feelings of weakness or faint, dizziness, nausea, headache and confusion.

For more information visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

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