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Staying cool in the heat wave

Recognizing symptoms of heat-related illnesses are important as hot summer weather continues throughout the Midwest

August 30, 2013
Jim Krajewski (jkrajewski@freemanjournal.net) , The Daily Freeman Journal

With temperatures sneaking into triple-digits, Webster City residents are feeling the heat as August nears its end.

Webster City schools have seen shortened days all week due to the heat, with some classes moving into cooled areas of schools. Superintendent Mike Sherwood said the district is taking advantage of every air-conditioned part of their facilities, with staff also meeting in cooler areas of the buildings.

Sports at Webster City schools have also been affected by the heat. Sherwood said practices have been limited and have been held indoors when possible. The Webster City High School football team has been practicing in shoulder pads and helmets and have been keeping hydrated.

Staying hydrated is an important part of staving off heat related illnesses, according to Hamilton County Public Health Administrator Shelby Kroona, who said avoiding being outside during the heat of the day and avoiding sugary drinks keep the body cool and hydrated. Kroona advised people without air conditioning to seek it if they feel very uncomfortable. She also said people should be aware of how the heat affects their pets.

"Make sure they have water and shade available, and let them in the house and not outside all day or in your car," Kroona said.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the primary heat related illnesses that people should watch for during hot days, according to Kroona. The warning signs of heat stroke includes hot, dry skin, dizziness, headache, nausea and a racing heartbeat.

If someone experiences those symptoms, Kroona said it's very important to get them inside and possibly seek medical attention. Heat stroke differs from heat exhaustion in that sweating still occurs when someone has heat exhaustion.

"You feel hot and you're sweaty," Kroona said. "As opposed to being hot with no sweat. There's that element of dehydration so there's no water evaporating."

Heat exhaustion can include symptoms of muscle cramps, tiredness and weakness.

Kroona advised those who exercise outdoors to try and fit their exercise into the twilight hours of early morning and late evening when it's coolest outside.

A heat advisory from the National Weather Service is set to expire this evening at 7 p.m. However, Saturday's forecast includes a high of 97 degrees. But, Monday looks to be cooler with a forecasted high of under 80 degrees. For Sherwood and many others in the Midwest, the cooler temperatures will be welcome.

"Let's hope fall weather gets here soon," Sherwood said.

 
 

 

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