Extreme temps reveal weak links
A mild spring and early summer did little to prepare residents of Southwest Nebraska and Northeast Kansas for the heat wave that has descended on the nation's midsection.
With Saturday's high of 103 degrees, Sunday's of 102 degrees and the forecast calling for 100 degrees or higher through Thursday, it's time for a refresher course on another aspect of weather safety.
Temperature extremes on either side of the thermometer quickly reveal any weak links in our health, homes or vehicles.
High temperatures and high humidity are especially dangerous for those over 65, infants and young children and those with heart disease and high blood pressure. A little common sense will go a long way toward preventing heat related illnesses such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
-Avoid hot food and heavy meals -- these add heat to the body.
-Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and mineral in your body. Do not take salt tablets unless under medical supervision.
-Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
-Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches.
-Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
-Provide plenty of fresh water for pets in a shady area.
-Use the buddy system by monitoring co-workers, family members and neighbors.
-Know what to do if someone exhibits symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Heat stroke occurs when the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweat mechanism fails and the body is unable to cool down.
If someone exhibits these symptoms, call for help and then move them to a shaded area as quickly as possible; cool them rapidly -- by placing them in a tub of cool water; putting them in a cool shower; spraying them with the garden hose or, if the humidity is low, wrapping them in a cool, wet sheet, fanning them vigorously.
Monitor their body heat until it drops below 101-102 degrees.
If medical assistance is delayed, contact the emergency room for additional assistance.
DO NOT give the victim fluids to drink.
A milder heat-related illness that can develop over several days of exposure to high temperatures or inadequate fluids. Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting. Untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. Cooling measure that may be effective include cool, non-alcoholic beverages; rest, a cool shower, bath or sponge bath, an air-conditioned environment and light-weight clothing.
This hot weather won't last forever, but while it does, pay attention to your health and the health of those around you.