The heat wave hitting the US was so extreme that people were sustaining severe burns simply by falling on the pavement, which reached scorching temperatures.
Doctors in parts of Arizona say that up to a third of patients in their burn units are victims who were injured in this way.
And the phenomenon has life-threatening consequences. Half of the patients in intensive care units are people who fall and burn themselves, said Dr Kevin Foster, director of burn services at Valleywise Health in Phoenix.
Phoenix has experienced triple-digit temperatures for 24 days straight and Arizona is one of more than a dozen states under a heat advisory or overheat warning from the National Weather Service.
A Phoenix resident rests in the shade while seeking shelter from the sun and heat during a record heatwave in the city
A billboard displays a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit during a record heat wave in Phoenix, Arizona
According to the American Meteorological Society, asphalt can be more than 50 degrees hotter than air temperature, whereas concrete is much higher
The service deemed the weather a “grave risk”, giving a three out of four warning and forecasting a temperature of as hot as 114 degrees Fahrenheit.
According to experts, at an air temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit, concrete surfaces reach a temperature of 105 degrees and asphalt around 130 degrees.
When the air temperature is 97 degrees, concrete gets as hot as 145 degrees and asphalt reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
At 125 degrees, sunburn can occur in two minutes. At 130 degrees, third-degree skin burns can occur in as little as 30 seconds, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Third-degree burns, expanding and destroying all layers of the skin and scarring the underlying tissue, often require multiple surgeries and months of recovery.
Foster told CNN that a third of patients in burn centers are people who fall to the ground and have burns so severe they require hospital treatment.
“Summer is our busy season, so we anticipate something like this will happen,” Foster told CNN.
‘But it’s really unusual – the number of patients we see and the severity of the injuries – the sharpness of the injuries is much higher. The numbers are higher and the seriousness of the injuries is higher, and we don’t have a good explanation for that.’
And Arizona isn’t the only state in the US that suffers from oppressive temperatures.
Cities in Utah have temperature maximums tied or broken, and nine states have announced heat alerts. Four states have announced overheating warnings, forecasting more record-breaking temperatures that could be deadly.
Water drips from a person as they cover their head for protection from the sun in Phoenix during a record heatwave
The heat advisory applies to all parts of Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Utah, Nebraska, Colorado and Montana. Excessive heat warnings are in effect in parts of Utah, Arizona, Florida and California.
The NWS urged people to take precautions if they are outside and to reschedule strenuous activities to avoid prolonged exposure to dangerously high temperatures.
In Las Vegas on Saturday, the service reported temperatures so high it can bake cookies in cars that reached 210 degrees Fahrenheit and on the asphalt, which reached 156 degrees Fahrenheit.
In Texas, the heat index, or ‘real feel’ temperature, is estimated at 114 degrees Fahrenheit. Florida could see an index as high as 112 degrees. Kansas will hit 108 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to burns, doctors are seeing an increase in the number of patients who come to the hospital with heat-related illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be deadly. The agency estimates that about 600 people die each year in the US from heat-related illnesses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be deadly.
The National Weather Service warns how hot cars can get in extreme temperatures
Maricopa County, the county that hosts Phoenix, has reported 18 heat-related deaths as of July 19, with the majority of the deaths occurring between July 2 and July 19. Additionally, the number of heat-related hospital visits has skyrocketed due to the recent temperature rise.
And people shouldn’t think only of themselves. This extreme heat is also dangerous for pets.
The searing temperature of concrete and asphalt can cause severe damage to a pet’s paws from walking on hot surfaces.
In addition, pets are at increased risk of heat stroke, which can begin to cause organ damage at as little as a 3 degree rise in body temperature, and can kill them in as little as 15 minutes if left untreated.
Source: | This article originally belonged to Dailymail.co.uk