Suggestions for beating the heat

Thursday, August 5, 2010
Fun way to combat a heat wave Democrat Photo One way area residents found to beat the intense temperatures of this week's heat wave was a cooling splash in the Cassville Aquatic Center pool. The pool, which is operated by the Cassville YMCA, will close for the season Sunday, Aug. 15. According to David Compton, director of the Barry County Office of Emergency Management, there are no plans in place to open a cooling center in the county unless there is an extended power outage. Compton recommends that individuals stay well hydrated and limit the amount of time spent outdoors. He also recommended for those not having air conditioning to visit places such as an area senior center, the public library or other public buildings where it is cool. Compton cautioned those using fans to be sure to open at least two windows in the household to allow for proper ventilation and circulation.

Local residents are advised to take necessary precautions this week to prevent heat illness resulting from extreme temperatures in the southwest Missouri area.

According to David Compton, Barry County Office of Emergency Management director, people need to make sure that they drink plenty of water to stay hydrated over the course of the next several days.

"The body normally cools itself by sweating," Compton said. "During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn't enough. An individual's body temperature can rise to dangerous levels and a heat illness can then develop. Most heat illnesses occur from staying out in the heat too long, exercising or over-exerting and the person's physical condition are also factors. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk.

"Drinking fluids, replenishing salt and minerals and limiting time in the heat can help," he continued. "There are sports drinks that can also help replace electrolytes for those who must work outdoors during intense periods of heat."

Heat-related illnesses include:

* Heatstroke: a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106 degrees in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness

* Heat exhaustion: an illness that can precede heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse

* Heat cramps: muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exercise

* Heat rash: skin irritation from excessive sweating

Compton noted that there are no plans in place to open cooling centers in Barry County unless there is an extended power outage. He recommended persons seek relief from the heat in public libraries, senior centers or shopping areas where there is air conditioning. If using a fan to circulate air in the home, Compton cautioned that a minimum of two windows should be left open to allow for fresh ventilation and proper airflow.

More information on heat-related illness may be obtained by visiting

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