As the summer heat kicks in to high gear and with so many homes with no air conditioning for relief from the heat…just a friendly reminder that heat related illnesses are a serious problem, ESPECIALLY for seniors, disabled persons, small children and pets.iors, disabled persons, small children and pets.
What To Watch For
The signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include:
- Excessive tiredness
- Dry Skin
- Rapid Pulse
What You Can Do
There are some simple steps that can be taken to prevent heat-related illnesses:
- Drink more fluids. Staying hydrated helps your body cool itself. Don’t wait to drink until you’re thirsty, and avoid liquids with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar since they can cause your body to lose more fluid.
- Never stay or leave another person inside of a closed, parked vehicle.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitted clothing.
- Stay indoors when possible. Air conditioning is the best defense against heat-related illnesses. The City of Minneapolis maintains a list of public, air-conditioned buildings for those who do not have air conditioning in their homes.
- Limit outdoor activity to the morning and evening when possible. The temperatures will be cooler at this time of day.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Wearing wide-brimmed hats and sunscreen helps protect your skin from harmful UV radiation, but anyone who is outside should also seek frequent breaks in the shade.
- Keep skin moist. Using wet cloths or a spray mist on exposed skin will help lower the body temperature.
- Don’t rely on fans. When temperatures climb into the 90s, fans cannot prevent heat-related illnesses.
- Check on at-risk neighbors. If you live near seniors or other vulnerable adults, check on them twice a day if possible and look for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Summer Pet Safety
Hot temperatures can be dangerous for four-legged friends and animals can also fall victim to heat stroke, dehydration and sunburn.
Veterinarians say that by the time dogs exhibit the first symptoms of overheating, they are already experiencing discomfort. Signs of heat stroke in dogs include:
- Excessive panting or drooling
- Anxious or staring expressions
- Fast pulse
- Staggering gait
The Animal Humane Society is reminding pet owners of the following summer safety tips:
- Never leave pets unattended in the car. Even cracked windows cannot protect a pet from overheating or suffering heat stroke.
- Limit exercise to morning or evening hours, especially with older pets, overweight pets and short-nosed dogs.
- If the ground is too hot for you to be barefoot, it is too hot for a dog. Hot asphalt can and does burn pet paws.
- Ensure that your pet has plenty of water.
- If possible, keep pets indoors in an air-conditioned environment on really hot days. Otherwise, ensure the pet has a shaded area and plenty of water.
- Keeping pets well-groomed will help them regulate heat. Matted coats trap in the heat, but shaving may not be the best option since exposing the skin can result in sunburn.
- If you recognize any of the signs of heat stroke in your pet, immerse the animal in cool water or use a garden hose to bring down his or her body temperature and then call your veterinarian
(image via flickr.com/Tracy Armstrong used under creative commons)