Thursday 28 June 2012

Tips to Keep Cool

Posted at 6:19 AM

 


People are encouraged to take extra precautions this week as hot temperatures and high humidity are causing dangerous conditions in parts of the state. 

Last summer, five people died and more than 100 people received medical treatment due to extreme heat in Wisconsin. Most of the victims did not have air conditioning. The combination of the warm temperatures and high humidity caused the heat index to rise to over 100 degrees.

To help keep cool, here are some tips to keep safe during hot weather:

Never leave children, disabled persons, or pets in a parked car – even briefly. Temperatures in a car can become life threatening within minutes. On an 80-degree day with sunshine, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked slightly can rise 20 to 30 degrees above the outside temperature in 10 to 20 minutes! There have been cases when the inside temperature rose 40 degrees!
 
Keep your living space cool. Cover windows to keep the sun from shining in. If you don’t have an air-conditioner open windows to let air circulate. When it’s hotter than 95 degrees use fans to blow hot air out of the window rather than to blow hot air on your body. Basements or ground floors are often cooler than upper floors.

Cooling Shelters or Locations.   If you don't have air conditioning, consider going to a shopping center or library. Several communities have also opened up cooling shelters or centers.   For locations, visit the ReadyWisconsin website at: http://readywisconsin.wi.gov or contact your local public health department or emergency management office. 

Look in on your neighbors and family members who may have challenges getting to a cooling center and see how you can help.

Slow down and limit physical activity. Plan outings or exertion for the early morning or after dark when temperatures are cooler.

Drink plenty of water and eat lightly. Don’t wait for thirst, but instead drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid alcohol or caffeine and stay away from hot, heavy meals. 

Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Add a hat or umbrella to keep your head cool…and don’t forget sunscreen!

Don’t stop taking medication unless your doctor says you should. Take extra care to stay cool and ask your doctor or pharmacist for any special heat advice. 

Infants should drink breast milk or formula to get the right balance of water, salts and energy. You may supplement your infant’s fluids with an additional 4 to 8 ounces of water per day, but don’t dilute formula beyond what the instructions say (unless instructed by your doctor). 

Taking a cool shower or bath will cool you down. A shower or bath will actually work faster than an air-conditioner. Applying cold wet rags to the neck, head and limbs also cools down the body quickly. 

Call 211 if you or others you know need information about local community and government resources. 

People at higher risk of a heat-related illness include:
  • Older adults and Infants and young children
  • People with chronic heart or lung problems
  • People with disabilities
  • Overweight persons
  • Those who work outdoors or in hot settings
  • Users of some medications, especially those taken for mental disorders, movement disorder, allergies, depression, and heart or circulatory problems
  • People who are isolated that don’t know when or how to cool off – or when to call for help
Pets and livestock can also suffer from the heat.   Make sure all pets and livestock have access to cool, clean water and shade. Try to provide shade for all animals pastured outside. Consider adding shade cloth or tarps to an area to provide shade or open pastures to areas where trees or buildings provide shade. Limit exercising your pet to early morning or late evening hours when it is cooler. Some of the signs of heatstroke in pets include heavy panting, glazed eyes, and excessive thirst. Seek veterinary assistance immediately.

 

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