“Summertime and the living is easy.”

Well, at least that's what the old George Gershwin tune says. One thing is for certain about summer in Helena-West Helena and Phillips County – it's always plenty hot! Temperatures in the Delta frequently reach and surpass the 100 degree mark. As far as temperatures are concerned the region has been reasonably fortunate so far this year in that it has not reached the triple-digit mark.

“Summertime and the living is easy.”

Well, at least that's what the old George Gershwin tune says. One thing is for certain about summer in Helena-West Helena and Phillips County – it's always plenty hot! Temperatures in the Delta frequently reach and surpass the 100 degree mark. As far as temperatures are concerned the region has been reasonably fortunate so far this year in that it has not reached the triple-digit mark.

However, the humidity level along the Mighty Mississippi has been tough to bear on more than one occasion to date.

As the summer progresses, the Arkansas Department of Health issues some important safety tips, especially for those who are most vulnerable to succumbing to the heat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nationwide that almost 8,000 people each year die from exposure to extreme heat. According to the CDC, during the summer months “more people in this country die from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning strikes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined.”

ADH officials says the most serious heat-related incidents occur because the body when overexposed to extreme heat becomes unable to cool itself down not allowing sweat to evaporate quickly enough. Overexposure to extreme heat can cause such illnesses as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Those determined to be the most at risk are the elderly, infants, children and people with chronic diseases.

When extremely high temperatures occur is is important to:

• Drink plenty of fluids

• Replace salt and minerals

• Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen

• Schedule outdoor activities carefully

• Pace yourself

• Stay cool indoors

• Use a buddy system

• Acclimate yourself to the heat; and

• Do not leave children in cars

In essence the ADH stresses using common sense.