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Avoid problems caused by heat

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By The Staff

“It’s so hot I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking,” online commenter laconservative wrote on our June 25 story, “More hot temps in forecast.”

Beamsabre chimed in, “I saw a pack of Cub Scouts lighting a bonfire to cool off.”

“It’s so hot the boys in the hood are wearing short sleeve shirts,” reverind ike added.

If you want to know just how hot it is, ask construction workers, police officers, firefighters – anyone who works outside – and air conditioning repair businesses. Last week, the asphalt expanded on S.C. 75, formed a bump and then buckled, causing drivers to swerve or damage their vehicles as they drove across the 8-10-inch ridge.

Anyway, you get the drift – it’s hot. As a matter of fact, there have been 18 straight days of temperatures in the 90s. And it’s just June 30.

The fact that it’s hot is no real revelation. After all, it is summer and heat is expected. But the intense heat can cause serious health issues. We can take precautions to prevent heat-related problems before they happen by using common sense. It is a given to stay in an air-conditioned building. But there are many people who do not have the luxury of air-conditioning or have to work outside.

Some tips for those who don’t have air conditioners include:

u Stay out of the sun.

u Wear lighter clothes and keep your hair off of your neck.

u Close the curtains in your house.

u Use a fan.

u Turn off uncessary lights.

u Use a microwave instead of a stove.

u Avoid washing clothes, dishes or using the dishwasher in the heat of the day.

Those whose jobs require they work outside should:

u Drink plenty of water and sports drinks. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.

u Take frequent breaks.

These tips seem so obvious. But you would be surprised how quickly a person can succumb to heat exhaustion, often without warning, according to the Mayo Clinic.  

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion often begin suddenly – after excessive exercise, heavy perspiration and inadequate fluid or salt intake.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling faint or dizzy; nausea; heavy sweating; rapid or weak heartbeat; low blood pressure; cool, moist, pale skin; low-grade fever; heat cramps; headache; fatigue or dark-colored urine.

Tips to treat heat exhaustion include:

u Get the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned location.

u Lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly.

u Loosen the person’s clothing.

u Have the person drink cool water or another nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine.

u Cool the person by spraying or sponging him or her with cool water and fanning.

u Monitor the person carefully. Heat exhaustion can quickly become heat stroke.

The Mayo Clinic says to call 911 if the person has a fever of more than 102 degrees, is fainting, confused or having seizures.

We may be getting a break in the temperature in the next few days. The weather forecast calls for temperatures in the 80s during the day and the 60s at night.

But we’re sure the heat wave is not over. After all, it is summer.