You will likely hear us mention the heat index over the next several months. But, what is the heat index and what does it mean for you?

The heat index is a number that is calculated from the humidity and air temperature to better describe how it feels to our bodies. This is because our bodies attempt to cool themselves by producing sweat. The sweat evaporates off our bodies, cooling the skin. However, when the humidity is high it is more difficult for the sweat to evaporate. This makes it more difficult for our bodies to cool themselves.

The National Weather Service has made a chart that makes it easy for determining the heat index from the air temperature and relative humidity.

When the heat index gets high you need to take precautions to protect yourself. When the heat index reaches between 90-103 degrees heat stroke and heat exhaustion become possible. The heat index becomes dangerous when reaching 103-124 degrees.

It is important to know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you think that you or someone else is experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion you should get to a cool place and try to cool off. If you are experiencing symptoms of heat stroke you should seek emergency medical care.

With rising temperatures and humidity this summer, be sure to use caution when spending long periods of time outside.