"Fever and Hyperthermia: Learn to Beat the Heat" (June 2008)* was a timely warning, not only for those of us who work in emergency care settings, but also for anyone who copes with oppressive heat in everyday situations.
I'd like to add one reminder to the authors' points. Children left in vehicles in sweltering summer temperatures are at high risk for hyperthermia. From 1998 to 2007, 361 child vehicular hyperthermia deaths were reported in the United States. More than 50% of these children were accidentally left inside the vehicle by a caregiver and 30% were playing in an unattended vehicle. Teach parents and others caring for young children never to leave unattended vehicles unlocked because children may get inside to play. The temperature inside a car can climb nearly 20[degrees] F-becoming much hotter than outside air-in 10 minutes, even with the windows rolled down.
At present, 14 states have laws addressing children left unattended in vehicles. For more information, see http://www.harrisonshope.org/m_nav/legislation.html and spread the word about heat-related illnesses to patients, friends, and family.
JENNIFER DURBIN, RN
Source: Null J, Hyperthermia deaths in children in vehicles, Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University, updated July 16, 2008, http://www.ggweather.com/heat.
*Individual subscribers can also access these articles free online at http://www.nursing2008.com. [Context Link]