Be cautious in this heat

Published 1:12 pm Friday, July 22, 2016

When you think about the types of weather-related deaths that occur each year, what comes to mind? Recently, certainly flooding has been a factor. But also, tornadoes and hurricanes, lightning and cold temperature take lives every year.

When it’s beautiful outdoors and summer activities kick into high gear, most people don’t give heat-related deaths a passing thought. But it is a real concern, especially when temperatures start climbing into the mid-90s, as they have this week.

Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death. Here are a few tips on how to beat the heat and stay safe:

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• If you don’t have to be outside in the heat, then don’t go outside. Stay inside. Your neighbors will forgive you if you don’t cut your grass when it’s this hot.

• If you don’t have air conditioning, visit places that do—malls, libraries, bookstores, movie theaters. Make a day of it.

• If you have to work outside, slow down and rest frequently. No one is going to get mad at you for not going fast enough in this heat.

• Wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Tight-fitting clothing holds the heat in and doesn’t allow it to escape.

• Drink a lot of water, even if you’re not thirsty. It’s easy to get dehydrated without noticing when it gets this hot.

• Check in on your neighbors, especially if they’re older, disabled or don’t have access to air conditioning.

Also, if you or someone you know needs cooling assistance this summer, the Home Energy Assistance Summer Crisis Program provided by the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization can help eligible residents (low-income households with an older member or with physician documentation) in paying an electric bill or for central air conditioning repairs.

These tips may seem like common sense, but they can be a matter of life and death.