Know how to handle the heat
Faced with record-setting temperatures and high humidity, it’s important to how to handle the heat. Here are some tips to protect people, pets and trees.
Tips for preventing heat-related illness in people
Heat-related illness happens when the body isn’t able to cool itself. Seniors, small children, and people with physical disabilities are the most vulnerable to heat-related illness, but everyone should take steps to stay safe in extreme heat.
· Drink more fluids. Drinking fluids helps your body cool itself. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Don’t drink liquids with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar: they can actually cause your body to lose more fluid.
· Never leave a person in a closed, parked vehicle. On a warm day, the temperature in a car can exceed 120 degrees in a matter of minutes — even with the windows partially open.
· Wear lightweight, loose-fitted clothing.
· Check on your neighbors who may be at risk. Visit seniors and other vulnerable neighbors at least twice a day and look closely for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Seek medical advice immediately if you notice nausea, weakness, disorientation, rapid pulse and dry skin.
· Stay indoors if you can. Air conditioning is your best defense against heat-related illness. If you must be outside, try to limit your activity to morning and evening, take frequent breaks in the shade, drink plenty of fluids, and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen.
· Don’t rely on an electric fan. Electric fans may seem to provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Using wet cloths or a spray of mist on exposed skin will help cool your body temperature.
For more information on heat-related illness and how to prevent it, visit the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support’s website at http://www.minneapolismn.gov/health/preparedness/dhfs_extremeheat.
Tips for keeping pets safe in extreme heat
Minneapolis Animal Care & Control urges pet owners to take special precautions to protect their animals when the heat index is high. Here are a few tips to keep pets safe:
· 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 120 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.
- If you see an animal outside or in a car exhibiting signs of heat stress, call Minneapolis Animal Care & Control immediately: In Minneapolis, dial 311 (612-673-3000). If you believe the situation to be life-threatening, please call 911.
Tips for protecting young trees
Our spring and early summer rains were a welcome antidote for parched trees, but not enough to counteract nine years of drought, the driest autumn on record and 10th lowest snowfall in more than 100 years. Extended drought conditions can make trees vulnerable to insects and disease and cause permanent damage to young and old trees alike. Young trees three to five years old are especially susceptible.
If it rains less than one inch in any week this summer and fall, trees need to be watered to help them recover. Here is an effective way to water a tree:
- Turn on your to a slow stream of water (just so the hose is weeping) for a few hours.
- Water in the early evening. Watering at this time minimizes evaporation, and trees tend to take most of their water during the night.
Watering one tree weekly costs only about $3 for the entire warm weather season. For people who lose track of when they last watered a tree, consider watering it on the same day trash is picked up.
Taking care of our trees means protects our quality of life. Research proves that healthy trees are beautiful, increase property values, help improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gases by absorbing carbon dioxide, save energy, keep the city cooler, provide homes for wildlife and help manage stormwater.
Published Jul. 5, 2012