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Wellesley Health Department Provides Tips on Keeping Cool

The heat wave will continue throughout this week.

The temperature will be in the 90s this week – and pay even pass 100 degrees by week’s end – which means it’s time to think about getting cool.

The Wellesley Health Department will be providing cooling centers this week at the Wellesley Community Center, 219 Washington St., between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and the Wellesley Library’s main building and branch libraries during their normal hours.

Here are some heat related conditions as described by the Center for Disease Control via the Wellesley Health Department:

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following: an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and/ or unconsciousness.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elders, those with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in a hot environment. The warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following: heavy sweating; paleness; muscle cramps; tiredness; weakness dizziness; headache; nausea or vomiting; and fainting. The skin may be cool and moist. The pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. See medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.

How to prevent them:

Remember to keep cool and use common sense. Drink plenty of fluid, replace salts and minerals, wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen, pace yourself, stay cool indoors, schedule outdoor activities carefully, use a buddy system, monitor those at risk, and adjust to the environment. During hot weather you will need to drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. Increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level (unless your doctor or a medical condition prohibits you from increasing fluid intake). Avoid drinks containing alcohol because they will actually cause you to lose more fluid.

What to do if you think you see someone experiencing any type of heat stress:

  •   Get the person to a shady area.
  • Cool the person rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the person in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the person with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the person in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.
  • Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101°–102°F
  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
  • Do not give the person alcohol to drink.
  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
  • NEVER leave children or pets alone in a closed, parked vehicle.

Some tips on keeping pets cool:

  • Never leave pets in a car, even with the windows down.  The inside of a car can reach temperatures in excess of 150 degrees in a matter of minutes.
  •   If possible, pets should be kept indoors during excessive heat.
  •   If keeping a pet outside, make sure that pets have adequate shelter from the sun and plenty of fresh water at all times.
  •   Plan outside activities with your pets during the cooler parts of the day:  early morning and evening.  Limit the outside activity of your pets during the heat of the day.
  •   During hot weather sidewalks and pavement radiate excessive amounts of heat and can be too hot for the pads of your pet's paws.  Consider that if the sidewalk is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it is too hot for your pet to walk on.
  •   Allow access to the coolest part of your home. If you don’t have air conditioning, or you turn it off while at work, make sure your pet can get to a cool place, such as a basement.
  •   Take extra precautions in hot weather for dogs that are elderly, overweight or snub-nosed.
  •   Always have a disaster plan in place for you, your family and your pets.
  •   Remember, WHEN YOU GO, THEY GO.  DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THEM.  If you are told to evacuate, take your pets with you.  DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND.

For more information contact the Wellesley Health Department at 781-235-0135.

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