Keeping Cool

Keeping Cool

(C. Proxmire, adapted from Oakland County Health Department Press Release, July 1, 2012)

Oakland County Health Division cautions residents to protect themselves from heat related illness such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.  Read to find out how to stay safe, healthy and cool on hot days.

Those at greatest risk include individuals 65 years of age or older, overweight people, those who exert themselves during work or exercise, infants and children up to age four and people who are ill or on certain medications.

“Extreme heat can lead to very high body temperatures, brain and organ damage, and even death. It is extremely important that high risk people such as the elderly follow precautions,” said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of Oakland County Health Division. “People suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to adjust and properly cool themselves.”

Follow these prevention tips:

  • ~Monitor high risk-people for signs of heat related illness. Visit older neighbors and family members at least twice a day to make sure they are safe. Watch for signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
  • ~Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light -colored clothing.
  • ~Limit vigorous activity during hot, humid weather. Stay indoors and exercise in air conditioned areas such as malls.
  • ~Don’t leave infants, pets or elderly people in parked cars.
  • ~Drink plenty of water. Drink more than you need to satisfy your thirst. If exercising, drink two to four cups of water every hour. Limit drinks that can cause dehydration such as coffee and soda.
  • ~Avoid alcohol.
  • ~Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher.

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is a life threatening situation. During heat stroke, the body loses its ability to regulate temperature in extreme heat, high humidity or during vigorous activity. Symptoms vary, but usually include red, flushed skin, a rapid strong pulse, throbbing headache, nausea, seizures, difficulty speaking, confusion and unconsciousness. If you think someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 and attempt to lower their body temperature by helping them get to a shaded area and by cooling their skin.

Other suggestions for how to beat the heat come from WikiHow:

COOL YOUR HOUSE:

  1. ~ Keep windows covered to keep out light and heat.
  2. ~Open windows at night, but close before the sunlight hits them.
  3. ~Use fans, and make sure they are positioned to suck cooler air up from the ground and hot air towards the ceiling.  If your stove has a ventilation fan, use it to suck hot air out.
  4. ~Make a DIY air conditioner by placing ice in metal bowl of ice in front of a fan and let the breeze from the fan blow over the ice, cooling the air.
  5. ~Turn off heat sources, including lights and electronics.
  6. ~Avoid steam like showers, laundry and cooking until nighttime.
  7. ~Make sure pilot lights on stove are set properly and not giving off excess heat.
  8. ~Use smooth white (or light colored) sheets to cover dark or fuzzy furniture (or leather/vinyl)
  9. ~Use light colored roofing.
  10. ~Insulate your home.
  11. ~Plant trees for shade
  12. ~Go to http://www.wikihow.com/Cool-Yourself-Without-Air-Conditioning for more home suggestions.

COOL YOURSELF:

  1. ~Put your pillow in the freezer to cool before use.
  2. ~Keep your neck cool and in the shade, this is where your body’s heat sensor is, so keeping your neck cool will make your body feel cool.  Your wrists are another spot to keep cool, such as by running cold water over them.
  3. ~Keep your head/hair wet.
  4. ~Take a cool shower or bath.
  5. ~Wear loose fitting, light colored clothes in natural fabrics.  Covering your skin may help you stay cool by keeping it protected from the sun.
  6. ~ More suggestions are at http://www.wikihow.com/Cool-Yourself-Without-Air-Conditioning.

REMEMBER YOUR PETS:

  1.  ~Don’t leave animals in the car or in other high heat situations.
  2. ~Make sure they have plenty of water.
  3. ~Don’t make dogs walk on the hot sidewalk, opt for the grass or move walks to later in the evening.

ELECTRONICS TOO:

  1. Business Insider reminds folks that laptops, cell phones and other electronics can be damaged by the heat.  Keep electronics in the shade and give them a break.  Fans can help them keep cool, plus there are other suggestions at http://www.businessinsider.com/keep-your-gadgets-cool-5-tips-to-help-your-devices-beat-the-heat-2012-6.

WHILE WE’RE AT IT, LET’S NOT HAVE ANY FIRES:

  1. ~Bonfires are not permitted in Ferndale.  If you are elsewhere, pay attention to how dry the grass is and look for other potential fire dangers before lighting your fire.  Extinguish completely before leaving.
  2. ~Know your Fireworks code.  Fireworks are especially dangerous in dry conditions.  Read the regulations for Ferndale, and use with caution during permissible days.  Read more at http://oaklandcounty115.com/2012/06/27/know-your-fireworks-code/.

ALSO:

Contact your municipality for a list of cooling centers or Nurse on Call for more information at 1-800-848-5533. For more information, visit www.oakgov.com/health.   In Ferndale, visit the Kulick Community Center  or the Ferndale Public Library as places to cool down.

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS:

Think cool thoughts.  Watch this clip and see if it makes you feel better…

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