Hot enough for you?

Cau­tion urged in sum­mer heat

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Tyler Smith

The dog days of sum­mer have ar­rived with a vengeance as a heat wave con­tin­ues to roast cit­i­zens of New­ton County.

Ver­non Goins, the pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer of the New­ton County Health De­part­ment, said stay­ing hy­drated should be peo­ple’s num­ber one pri­or­ity dur­ing th­ese swel­ter­ing days.

“ Wa­ter is the per­fect so­lu­tion,” Goins said.

While most liq­uids will get the job done, there are cer­tain bev­er­ages that should be avoided.

“Any­thing that would act as a di­uretic should be avoided,” Goins said. “ Cof­fee is an ex­am­ple of a nat­u­ral di­uretic.”

More ac­tive in­di­vid­u­als should be pre­pared not only to drink more wa­ter, but also to have a flexible work­out sched­ule.

“ Ev­ery­one should take pre­cau­tions, not just those who are most sus­cep­ti­ble,” Goins said “ This is es­pe­cially true for peo­ple who are go­ing to be ex­er­cis­ing or work­ing out­side.”

Ex­pe­ri­enced run­ners, jog­gers and walk­ers should move their ex­er­cise rou­tine to ei­ther early morn­ing or late evening. Goins per­son­ally likes to run at around 8 p. m. as the sun is go­ing down. Now might not be the ideal time for those be­gin­ning a new pro­gram.

“ If you are just start­ing a pro­gram, you may want to hold off for awhile,” Goins said. “ Peo­ple need to build up a re­sis­tance to the heat, which is hard to start right now.”

Some com­mon signs that a per­son may be too hot in­clude a sud­den change in abil­ity to sweat, a sud­den cool­ness or clammy skin.

Goins said the el­derly have to be par­tic­u­larly cau­tious this time of the year. Re­becca Barr is the man­ager of Home Hearts Care, a group ded­i­cated to as­sist­ing the el­derly who live at home. The work­ers have had to take ex­tra safety mea­sures dur­ing this sum­mer.

“We try to keep their ther­mostats set be­tween 70 and 75 de­grees, but even then it can be hot for them if they are on blood thin­ners. Some­times it can be so hot the lit­tle old peo­ple have a hard time breath­ing.”

As an­other pre­cau­tion, Barr said the work­ers tried to keep the el­derly as hy­drated as pos­si­ble.

“We don’t nor­mally visit af­ter 6 p.m., so we make sure they drink as much wa­ter as pos­si­ble while we are there so they can stay hy­drated through­out the night un­til we come back,” Barr said.

While most of Barr’s cus­tomers can af­ford air con­di­tion­ing, not ev­ery­one is so lucky. Goins said the el­derly are the most likely age group to have no air con­di­tion­ing in their homes. For­tu­nately, per­sons of any age are wel­come to take a cool down break in at the New­ton County Li­brary, said Di­rec­tor Greg Heid.

“The li­brary is tra­di­tion­ally a place where the pub­lic goes to when it gets hot,” Heid said. “We have no­ticed the same thing hap­pen­ing with more peo­ple com­ing in than nor­mal.”

Heid said ear­lier this week a wo­man came to the li­brary and bal­anced her check­book while wait­ing for her air con- di­tioner to be fixed.

“The pub­lic is al­ways wel­come at the li­brary,” Heid said.

Like the el­derly, young chil­dren are also very sus­cep­ti­ble to the el­e­ments. They are more likely to want to be out­side, Goins said, but par­ents should be sure to keep their chil­dren inside dur­ing the hottest parts of the day.

This can ex­tend to older stu­dents as well. Band direc­tors from two New­ton County schools have had to change plans to ac­com­mo­date the weather.

“We are tak­ing the kids out­side less than if it was cooler,” said Alan Fowler, band di­rec­tor at East Side High School. “We are do­ing ev­ery­thing we can inside and then tak­ing them out­side only for fi­nal run thor­ough.”

The stu­dents are also al­lowed ex­tra wa­ter breaks while out­side. A sprin­kler sys­tem has also been in­stalled to help keep them cool, Fowler said.

Band stu­dents at Al­covy High School only prac­ticed inside this week.

“Ev­ery sum­mer there are days when the heat is some­thing to be reck­oned with, but this has been par­tic­u­larly bad with the heat wave,” said Lloyd McDon­ald, the band di­rec­tor at Al­covy. “ We’ve even done some march­ing inside.”

McDon­ald hopes to get the stu­dents back on the field next week if the weather breaks. The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice’s Web site fore­cast tem­per­a­tures to lower to highs in the mid-90s.

Goins said the home­less are an­other group that might need ex­tra help dur­ing the dog days of sum­mer. They are ob­vi­ously ex­posed to the el­e­ments and Goins urges shel­ters to be at their most dili­gent.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

East­side High School Var­sity Foot­ball player Hunter Parker drips with sweat dur­ing a prac­tice for the team last week.

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