Native to the Tropics, we humans are better equipped to deal with heat than with the cold; indeed, given shade and adequate water, we can survive in temperatures near 130 degrees F for limited periods of time. Nevertheless, heat waves kill more Americans each year than any other form of weather, including tornadoes, hurricanes and floods.
The elderly are most prone to heat-related illness and death; their aging bodies are less capable of dissipating heat and efforts to do so place significant stress on their cardiovascular system. The other population at risk is the young athlete; blinded by the immortality of youth or prodded on by an ignorant coach, they exercise during the heat of the day and, despite fluid intake, court heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Human tribes that inhabit hot desert regions or tropical areas know to escape from the sun during the afternoon hours. Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothes, they adopt the habit of mid-day siestas, retreating to shaded areas and consuming plenty of water. Advanced human societies, though equipped with air-conditioned buildings, have less appreciation for the danger of heat and, too often, suffer the consequences.