Heat advisory: Severe risk to humans and animals
Local health officials are urging people to heed some simple tips to avoid a heat-related illness or even death in the face of a daytime heat index that could reach or exceed 100 degrees in the coming days.
A news release from the Peninsula Health District said people should reschedule activities for the cooler part of the day, which is generally outside of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. That six-hour block is when sunlight exposure is at its greatest.
Spending at least two hours a day in air conditioning greatly lowers the risk of heat-related illness. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, try to visit a friend who has air conditioning. Once the temperature reaches the upper 90s, a fan may not prevent heat-related illness.
You should drink two to four glasses of cool fluids an hour. When you are exercising or working outside, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage to replace lost salt and minerals, and avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks.
Sunburns limit your body’s ability to cool itself. It also leads to a loss of bodily fluids. Use sunscreen with a high SPF and wear light clothing, especially loose-fitting and light-colored clothes. Use a hat on your head to keep cool.
Never leave children or pets inside a car. The temperature in the cabin can quickly reach more than 150 degrees, resulting in heat stroke or death.
If you’re going to be working outside, let someone know you’ll be out there in case you become confused or lose consciousness due to a heat-related illness.
Furry Pets are Especially at Risk
Veterinarians say that by the time dogs exhibit the first symptoms of overheating, they are already experiencing discomfort. Signs of heat stroke in dogs include:
– Excessive panting or drooling
– Anxious or staring expressions
– Fast pulse
– Staggering gait
Keeping Your Pet Cool
– Keep your pet inside and out of the direct sun.
– Be sure your pet has enough clean, cool water.
– Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car for any period of time. On a warm day, the temperature in a car can exceed 150 degrees in a matter of minutes — even with the windows partially open. Your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation.
– Limit exercise to morning or evening hours, especially with older pets, overweight pets and short-nosed dogs.
– If the ground is too hot for you to be barefoot, it is too hot for a dog. Hot asphalt can and does burn pet paws.
– Keeping pets well-groomed will help them regulate heat. Matted coats trap in the heat, but shaving may not be the best option since exposing the skin can result in sunburn.
– If you recognize any of the signs of heat stroke in your pet, immerse the animal in cool water or use a garden hose to bring down his or her body temperature and then call your veterinarian.