Stay safe in summer heat

Published 11:40 am Tuesday, June 7, 2011

During the summer months, Shelby County boasts an abundance of outdoor fun with festivals, parks and special events.

However, it can be dangerous to spend too much time out in the oppressive heat — especially this year, with temperatures already hitting the high 90s and low 100s.

High temperatures can be dangerous for anyone. A healthy individual can take up to 14 days to acclimate to seasonal changes in heat.

Remember that individuals with health problems such as heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, poor circulation or a history of stroke, among others, are at high risk of overexposure to heat, along with the elderly or the very young.

Early warning signs of overexposure to heat include dizziness, rapid heartbeat, nausea, a throbbing headache, chest pains or breathing problems.

If you or a loved one begins to suffer these symptoms, move to an air-conditioned area as soon as possible.

Everyone should drink at least two glasses an hour of cool, non-alcoholic liquids.

Don’t forget about your pet in the summer heat, especially if your animal primarily lives outside. Make sure your pet has a source of shade and water.

If you have a short-nosed dog, such as an English bulldog or a Chinese pug, your dog should stay inside or somewhere with air conditioning, as it may not be able to breathe in the hot weather.

Also, if your dog has a long coat or a heavy coat, shear it during the summer months to prevent overheating.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.