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Beat the heat!

Summer can be a great time to get outdoors in the warm weather, take the kids on a vacation, go camping, and spend time on the lake. Yes, summer is great!

The hazards of warm weather can include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and even death. Fortunately most of these impacts can be avoided by taking breaks if you are working outside, sitting in the shade or a cool building, drinking lots of water and eating to replace the water and electrolytes we sweat out, and recognizing the symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion and getting medical attention immediately.

Below is an example of a heat waves impacts on a large scale.

Chicago, Illinois – 1995. Chicago experienced three miserable days of a heat wave – hot temperatures and high heat indices and no cool down relief at night. The temperatures reached into the high 90s and into the 100s.

Those who were affected the most were the elderly and the low income. The housing situation was part of the problem. Tall buildings hold heat, the higher up, the warmer it gets; air conditioning was limited. People did not open windows at night for fear of break ins. A majority of the elderly who perished were alone – no family/no social circle, no one to check up on them. There were power outages as well that took away the advantage of the air conditioning. Over 750 people died in this heat wave.

There is a book about it called: Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago

Long story short, those of you with elderly parents/relatives/friends – during the hot weather, it might not be a bad idea to check in on them and make sure they are hydrating and have a way to cool off. Same goes for small children, those with special needs, and pets/livestock.  Stay hydrated, stay cool, take frequent breaks, and keep an eye on each other.  Make a plan for an extended power outage and what to do if that happens.

Those of you who work with horses and other animals, make sure they are cooled off – sweat is dry, before giving them full access to water.  All animals should have free access to cool, clean water.  If the sidewalk/road is too hot for your  hand/foot, it is probably too hot for your dog. Mornings are good times to do strenuous activities.

Dressing for the weather can help with keeping you cool. Light weight fabrics in light colors reflect the sun’s rays, a lightweight hat with ventilation can keep your head cool and the sun off your face.

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