Surviving the summer swelter

Jonathan Wright - j[email protected]
Maysville firefighters Maxwell Vondruski and Josh Ilg are testing fire hose nozzles -

The area has been suffering through an intense heat wave, persuading many people to stay indoors to avoid the heat and humidity outside.

Summer is a time of year that typically invites everyone outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather. Although with temperatures in the 90s and humidity rising, it is always good to be aware of health problems that can result from the heat.

According to information from the Centers for Disease Control, heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke occur when the body is not able to properly cool itself. Naturally the body can cool itself through sweat, but extreme heat can render the process moot.

Some factors like high levels of humidity, obesity, heart disease and alcohol use increase the chances of heat related illness. Young children and older adults are at the highest risk for illness, according to the CDC.

Ways to avoid heat-related illness include wearing appropriate clothing. Lightweight, light colored and loose-fitting clothing make for cooler attire. Staying hydrated and in the shade are obvious countermeasures. Avoiding hot and heavy meals which add heat to the body is also suggested.

Allison Adams, Buffalo Trace District Health Department public health director, implores people to never leave children in vehicles. Car interiors can reach dangerous temperatures which can be harmful or even fatal to children.

“There’s no safe time to leave a child unattended in a car,” she said.

Adams also advises people to be mindful of the times of the day where the heat is at is peak, and avoid being outside during those times.

Those whose jobs require them to work outside also have to take measures to avoid heat-related illnesses. Mike Barbee, Public Works director for Maysville, admits the past couple of weeks have been hotter than in summers past, but his crews are taking the necessary measures to stay cool.

“The guys and gals are staying hydrated whenever they can,” he said.

Barbee said the heat has also impacted the landscaping duties connected with the job as flower need to be watered more frequently and mowing occurring less.

Despite the warning there are still people who are adversely affected by the heat, as Maysville Fire Chief Kevin Doyle can attest.

“We have had a few calls, or runs, in the last four or five days for heat exhaustion,” Doyle said.

Doyle, just like the CDC and Adams, recommends people stay out of the heat periodically and stay hydrated constantly.

Humans aren’t the only ones at risk in the heat. Household pets are also subject to the effects of a hot summer day. Rebecca Cartmell of the Humane Society of Buffalo Trace said pets should be kept indoors or under shade as much as possible.

“If you’re hot, they’re hot,” she said

Cartmell also urged owners to keep pets hydrated, both indoors and out.

A common misconception made by pet owners is to clip their pet’s coat to keep them cool. Cartmell says that shaving your pet does much more harm, as it exposes them to more heat and increases their chances for sunburn.

“They have that fur for a reason,” she said.

Maysville firefighters Maxwell Vondruski and Josh Ilg are testing fire hose nozzles firefighters Maxwell Vondruski and Josh Ilg are testing fire hose nozzles

Jonathan Wright

[email protected]