Keep­ing your cool

Of­fi­cials urge cau­tion as temps rise

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— As tem­per­a­tures be­gin to creep up, res­i­dents should take pre­cau­tions to stay safe and cool dur­ing the sum­mer­time, of­fi­cials said this week.

”Sum­mer heat car­ries with it some se­ri­ous health risks for peo­ple of any age or health con­di­tion,” Ce­cil County Health Of­fi­cer Stephanie Gar­rity said. “I ad­vise ev­ery­one to fol­low com­mon-sense pre­cau­tions to stay cool, stay hy­drated and stay in­formed about

ELKTON

the weather and its im­pact on their health.”

Heat-re­lated ill­nesses can lead to se­vere health con­se­quences in­clud­ing dis­abil­ity, and even death, said Gregg Bortz, pub­lic af­fairs of­fi­cer for the county health de­part­ment.

In high hu­mid­ity, sweat does not eva­po­rate quickly, which pre­vents the body from re­leas­ing heat as quickly as it needs to in or­der to cool off, he said. Per­sonal fac­tors, such as age and weight among others, also play roles in whether a per­son can cool off enough in hot weather.

Bortz said young

chil­dren, who are preschool age and younger, those 65 years and older and those with chronic dis­eases are the most at-risk groups. He said they have “ad­di­tional health risk fac­tors that af­fect their bod­ies’ abil­ity to cool it­self off in re­sponse to ex­treme heat.” Although, that does not mean others are not at risk, such as those who par­tic­i­pate in stren­u­ous ac­tiv­ity in the heat, he added.

Pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures in­clude tak­ing us­ing air con­di­tion­ing or go­ing to a pub­lic place with air con­di­tion­ing, such as a shop­ping mall or li­brary, drink­ing wa­ter and flu­ids with no caf­feine or al­co­hol, lim­it­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, es­pe­cially dur­ing mid­day when tem­per­a­tures are at their peaks, and wear­ing sun­screen and loose, light­weight and light-col­ored cloth­ing, Bortz said. He also ad­vised res­i­dents to take cool show­ers or baths or par­tic­i­pate in an ac­tiv­ity such as (L-R) Kayla Gille­spie and her mother, Sara Peters, of North East, sit un­der the trees as Gille­spie’s chil­dren and their cousin play on the jun­gle gym at Meadow Park in Elkton on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

swim­ming to cool down. Peo­ple should check news out­lets for weather fore­casts and heat ad­vi­sories, he said.

“Very im­por­tantly, check on fam­ily mem­bers or neigh­bors who may be el­derly or may meet some of these other high-risks just to make

sure they are aware, and that they are able to take some of the pre­cau­tions,” he said.

He also ad­vised that chil­dren and pets should not be unat­tended in cars — ever — but es­pe­cially not in the heat.

”The heat, if a car is not run­ning and does not have air flow, can build up in there to a point it’s a health risk,” Bortz said.

There are also three com­mon heat-re­lated ill­nesses to be aware of: heat cramps, heat ex­haus­tion and heat stroke.

Heat cramps are short, se­vere cramps in the mus­cles of the leg, arm or ab­domen dur­ing or af­ter heavy ex­er­cise in ex­treme heat, Bortz said. This oc­curs when heavy sweat­ing uses up the body’s sup­ply of salts, caus­ing cramps, he said. Peo­ple who suf­fer from the cramps should re­hy­drate them­selves, go to a cool area and stop ac­tiv­ity for a few hours until the cramps have sub­sided, he said.

Cramps are also an early in­di­ca­tion of heat ex­haus­tion and if they have not gone away af­ter an hour, one should seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion, Bortz said.

Heat ex­haus­tion oc­curs when a per­son spends too much time in a hot area with­out drink­ing enough flu­ids, Bortz said. Symp- toms in­clude thirst, fa­tigue, weak­ness, clammy skin and rapid breath­ing, some­times nau­sea or vom­it­ing, he said. To al­le­vi­ate the is­sue, drink flu­ids, rest, take a cool shower or bath, go into an air con­di­tioned area, and wear clothes are loose and light-weight, Bortz said. He said if there is nau­sea and vom­it­ing that con­tin­ues, seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

“Heat stroke is the most se­ri­ous heat-re­lated ill­ness,” Bortz said.

A heat stroke oc­curs that’s when a per­son’s body tem­per­a­ture in­creases rapidly, with symp­toms in­clud­ing a body tem­per­a­ture in­crease to 103 de­grees and higher within 10 to 15 min­utes. Along with the tem­per­a­ture in­crease, other symp­toms in­clude the per­son does not sweat, rapid and weak pulse and red, hot and dry skin, he said. Bortz said this is an med­i­cal emer­gency and help must be called af­ter the per­son is out of the sun and cooled down a bit. He ad­vised to check the per­son’s tem­per­a­ture of­ten.

Around Elkton, many res­i­dents were heed­ing of­fi­cials cau­tions as Thurs­day’s tem­per­a­tures hung in the mid-80s.

Kayla Gille­spie, who is vis­it­ing from Seat­tle but grew up in Per­ryville, said she makes sure to drink enough wa­ter and stay in the shade.

”I al­ways drink a lot of wa­ter,” Gille­spie said.

She said she takes mul­ti­ple pre­cau­tions to make sure her two chil­dren are pro­tected, as well. She said they are “painted” in sun­block and spend lots of time run­ning through sprin­klers or swim­ming in pools to cool off.

Gille­spie wasn’t alone in that thought ei­ther, as Brit­tany Ce­sari took her chil­dren and younger brother to the Big Elk Creek in Meadow Park on Thurs­day af­ter­noon to cool off in the shal­low wa­ter.

”We don’t have a slow­mov­ing creek like this back at home, so we let the boys take ad­van­tage of this,” said the Ten­nessee woman vis­it­ing fam­ily this week.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

Vin­cent Da­nenza, 13, plays with his nephew, Ma­son, 3, in the Big Elk Creek on Thurs­day as they tried to cool off.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

As tem­per­a­tures push into the high 80s and 90s over com­ing weeks, of­fi­cials are ad­vis­ing cau­tion for the young and old.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

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