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Hot weather health tips

POSTED: June 30, 2012 3:52 p.m.

Here are some tips to help you deal with the summer heat wave.

For you

Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink.

Don't drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar, which cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, which can cause stomach cramps.

If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library; even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler.

Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a better way to cool off.

Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on infants and young children; people aged 65 or older; people who have a mental illness; and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure. Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. If you must exercise outdoors, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.

Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, SPCA

For your pet

Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it's hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot.

According to Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, "symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees."

Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle.

Giving your dog a lightweight summer haircut helps prevent overheating. Shave down to a one-inch length, never to the skin, so your dog still has some protection from the sun. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

Don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt; sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

Source: SPCA



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