The heat index is an essential factor as we deal with the current heat wave, but what is it?

"It's not the heat; it's the humidity", that's what we say in the summer right? According to the National Weather Service the heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. This has important considerations for the human body's comfort. When the body gets too hot, it begins to perspire or sweat to cool itself off. If the perspiration is not able to evaporate, the body cannot regulate its temperature. That is why we're in an Excessive Heat Warning.

An Excessive Heat Warning means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-
conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Take extra precautions, if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water.

To reduce risk during outdoor work, the occupational safety and health administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency, call 9 1 1.