July 16, 2012

Health Officials Release Heat-Related Fatality Information

Continued Precautions Urged as Heat Wave Continues

MADISON-State health officials are confirming eight heat-related deaths and 11 possible heat-related deaths since July 1, and continuing to urge precautions during this week's high temperatures. While half of the confirmed deaths occurred in southern Wisconsin, two of the fatalities were in Barron County and two in La Crosse County.

The Department of Health Services continues to work with local public health departments, coroners and medical examiners to gather information on the number of heat-related fatalities statewide.

"Heat stroke can be rapid and fatal," said State Health Officer Dr. Henry Anderson. "People should remain cool and safe by keeping hydrated, slowing down, staying indoors and avoiding strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day."

Hot weather can be dangerous for anyone but is especially dangerous for older adults, infants and young children, individuals with chronic health problems, those who work outdoors or in hot settings and isolated individuals who may not know how to cool off or ask for help. Officials encourage people to check on neighbors, friends, and family during the ongoing heat wave.

When temperatures are above 90 degrees, officials recommend the following actions:

  • To avoid dehydration, make it a point to drink more fluids during hot weather. Rapid weight loss may be a sign of dehydration.
  • Do not plan strenuous activities during the warmest part of the day.
  • Individuals at highest risk should spend the hottest part of the day in a cool, preferably air-conditioned place.
  • Use fans to increase ventilation unless temperatures exceed 90 degrees, at which point fans become ineffective in reducing heat-related illness.
  • Take action to reduce body temperatures if heat-related symptoms appear.
  • If you or your neighbors do not have air conditioning, go to a local library, mall, or cooling center. For information on the nearest cooling center, call 2-1-1, contact your health care provider, or visit

For more information on preventing heat-related illness: