Summer has been hitting us with full force this year. Summer 2012 has been the hottest and driest in years. The National Weather Service says we aren't done with the heat yet. Temperatures Monday in Glen Ellyn could hit 101, again.
Temperatures are forecasted to hit the century mark Monday, with storms possible the heat index could be closer to 105 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. With more oppressive weather forecasted, staying inside is one way to keep cool. Here are some tips to keep from overheating and keeping your pets healthy and happy too.
Staying safe in the heat
The DuPage County Health Department has a number of tips to help people stay safe in the heat.
Dehydration: Dehydration occurs when more water leaves the body that you put back in. Stay well hydrated throughout the day and drink extra fluids when exercising or simply being outdoors on hot days.
Heat exhaustion: Symptoms may include: headaches, weak pulse, rapid pulse, excessive sweating, dizziness, and in some instances fainting, clammy skin, chills, cold, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps or very fast or very shallow breathing. If you suspect you have heat exhaustion, take action immediately to cool down. If possible, immerse yourself in cool water.
Heat stroke: Unlike heat exhaustion, victims of heat stroke have warm skin that is dry to the touch because they’ve sweated out all their extra water leaving the body’s natural cooling system without a key cool-down mechanism. High fever, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and a strong, rapid pulse all accompany heat stroke. People may become confused and can lose consciousness. Heat stroke is a very serious condition. Take action to cool the victim and seek immediate medical assistance.
Keep your Cool
Here are some tips from the Health Department to stay cool:
• Always wear light-weight clothing that has plenty of ventilation – the fabric should “breathe.” Stay well hydrated; always ensure you consume an abundance of liquids in the summer.
• Exercise or schedule other strenuous activities when the heat and humidity are lowest, usually early morning and late evenings.
• Rest in cool, shady places frequently. If you’re hot, go cool down – get indoors, drink cool liquids, enjoy the air conditioning for a few minutes, or take a cold shower.
• Eat light, heart-healthy foods to replace minerals and nutrients that may be lost. Give your heart a little extra break during the summer months with a healthy diet.
• Watch out for those at greatest risk such as very young children, the elderly, persons who may have health conditions. Certain medications may put you at greater risk of heat-related illnesses so be aware of how medications may interact with the heat.
For more information visit the DuPage County Health Department.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) emphasizes that pets should never be left in parked vehicles on hot days. The temperature inside a car can rise to 120 degrees within a matter of minutes. Pets can suffer irreversible organ damage and death.
Whenever pets are outside they require shade and cool water. Protection from the heat is a must, according to the Humane Society. A dog house does not provide relief from the heat.
The Humane Society recommends limiting exercise on very hot days to early morning or evening hours. Owners should be particularly careful with pets with white-colored ears, that are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets that may have difficulty breathing.
Walking dogs on grass is also suggested, since asphalt can become very hot and can burn a dog’s paws.
Know the signs of heat stroke in your pet:
- Heavy panting
- Glazed eyes
- A rapid heartbeat
- Excessive thirst
- Dizziness, lack of coordination
- Profuse salivation
- A deep red or purple tongue
In cases of heat stroke:
- Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.
- Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck and chest or run cool (not cold) water over the pet.
- Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.
- Take your pet directly to a veterinarian.
Source: Humane Society of the United States
How do you plan to keep cool? Tell us in comments.