The National Weather Service is predicting a possible heat wave for much of this week with temperatures hovering into the mid to high 90s. During hot summer weather the Clackamas County Social Services and Public Health caution people and their pets of an increased risk for heat-related problems such as dehydration, heat exhaustion and sun stroke.
Seniors, people with disabilities and children are especially susceptible to these conditions. Children and people with disabilities may not be able to express discomfort or communicate symptoms. Here is what you should look for:
- Red irritated skin
- Excessive sweating
- Headaches, muscle aches and nausea
If someone demonstrates one or more of those symptoms it is important to get them hydrated and out of the sun immediately. If the symptoms persist or they lose consciousness or have trouble breathing, summon medical assistance as soon as possible.
Hot weather can also cause strain on the heart, exacerbate respiratory impairments such as asthma, emphysema and a range of other conditions. It can also affect the ability to manage diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
Here are some tips for combating the heat:
- Keep air circulating with fans; take cool sponge baths
- Go to an air-conditioned building if possible. Consider visiting a local senior
- center, youth center library or mall. Air-conditioning has been found to be the single most important factor in reducing heat-related risks.
- Wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing. If going out wear a hat.
- Drink lots of water and don’t wait to get “thirsty”
- Avoid, coffee, tea or alcohol
- Limit physical activity and direct exposure to the sun
- Check with your health provider about how the hot weather affects your prescription drugs
- Contact your health provider if you experience prolonged heat-related symptoms, or if those symptoms significantly affect the ability to care for yourself.
For more about caring for the elderly or persons with disabilities visit the Social Services Web page at www.clackamas.us/socialservices/ and more about Public Health visit www.clackamas.us/community_health/ph/
Keeping your pets cool during hot weather
Clackamas County Dog Services reminds pet owners to be especially careful to keep their pets cool and safe during hot weather.
Dogs and cats can’t perspire as humans do and can only eliminate heat by panting and through the pads of their feet. That means they heat up very quickly and have limited resources to cool themselves.
Dog Services Manager Diana Hallmark notes that the temperature in a parked car, even in the shade or with windows partly open, can increase rapidly. Within as few as 10 minutes, a dog or cat can be seriously harmed or killed. Leaving a pet in a parked car may also subject the owner to criminal neglect or abuse charges.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, even with outside temperatures as low as 72 degrees a car’s interior temperature can increase an average of 40 degrees within an hour. While some people leave windows slightly open, that doesn’t provide enough relief to protect your pet. Visit their website at http://www.hsus.org/
Hallmark suggests people keep pets from overheating by:
- Leaving them at home during warm or hot weather;
- Being sure they have constant access to shade or a cool room, and to cool, potable drinking water, and
- Being mindful of overexertion which can cause overheating. Take walks early in the morning or late in the evening and at a relaxed pace.
- Watching out for heatstroke –heavy panting, staring, high fever, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, collapse and disobedience. If heatstroke is suspected, call a veterinarian immediately and apply water-soaked towels to hairless areas of the animal’s body to lower its temperature.
- Never leaving pets in an unattended parked car or truck, with or without open windows.
For more information about pet safety or related issues visit www.clackamas.us/dogs/