Heat and humidity continue to be oppressive as the summer wears on. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climatic Data Center has detected a 30-year trend that the Memphis area reaches the peak heat of the season between July 21 (today) and July 25.

Heat and humidity continue to be oppressive as the summer wears on.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climatic Data Center has detected a 30-year trend that the Memphis area reaches the peak heat of the season between July 21 (today) and July 25.

The National Weather Service reports that the high temperatures are expected to remain in the mid to high 90s for an extended period of time with the humidity levels to cause the heat index to frequently reach triple digits.

Dr. Tim Davis, chief medical officer of the National Disaster Medical System of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports nationally that heat-related illnesses cause more than 600 deaths each year. He added that between 2001 and 2010 more than 28,000 people were hospitalized for heat-related illnesses.

Davis reminds the public to be particularly mindful of children and the elderly during extremely hot weather.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to heat illnesses, and can’t always tell adults what’s wrong,” stated Davis in a press release. “When it’s hot outside, consider any change in a child’s behavior as heat stress.”

Davis emphasized that infants and children should never be left in a parked car, even with the windows down.

Five simply tips can be taken to prevent heat-related illness:

• Spend time in locations with air-conditioning

• Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids. Good choices include water and diluted sports drinks, unless told otherwise by a doctor.

•Choose lightweight, light-colored and loose fitting clothing

•Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours; and

•Protect yourself from the sun by wearing hats with brims and sunscreen.

The National Disaster Medical System also warns the public about increased stress on electrical grids during the peak of the summer heat. Increased use of air-conditioning units frequently creates overloads and system power outages. People are urged to keep an eye on their neighbors that use electrical medical devices and equipment.

Those who need help with energy bills, including air-conditioning, may be able to obtain assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program administered locally in the Phillips County area by Mid-Delta Community Services.

For additional information on how to protect you, your family and neighbors from extreme heat please visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.asp.