Here’s to keeping it cool in coming days

What is just a month or so ago that people were complaining about the never-ending snow and cold temperatures? Now we’re in the middle of a drought and hot weather.

According to the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township, a record high of 91 degrees was set on Wednesday, breaking the 1988 record of 88. There also hasn’t been much rain lately, and none is forecast through next week.

People can water their annual flowers and whatever else they believe needs watering, but what about themselves?

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services urges Michiganders to take precautions to prevent heat-related illness as temperatures rise across the state.

MDHHS said it routinely reviews emergency department data for heat-related illness. As daily temperatures rise above 80 degrees, ED visits for heat-related illness tend to increase — and this is often more likely for the first high-heat event of the year as people are not as used to those kinds of temperatures and might not take the necessary precautions.

To prevent complications from the heat, MDHHS has issued these tips:

≤ Drink more fluids and avoid liquids with large amounts of sugar or alcohol.

≤ Limit outdoor activities to when it is coolest in the morning and evening.

≤ Spend time indoors in air conditioning at home or in a cooling center.

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

≤ Wear sunscreen, as sunburn affects a body’s ability to cool down.

≤ Check on elderly neighbors and relatives to determine if they need assistance.

For those without access to air conditioning, MDHHS recommends they text or call 211 or contact their local health department to find out if there is a cooling center nearby. They also can spend some time at an air-conditioned library, shopping mall or other public building.

It’s not just people’s health that concern us. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development also encourages owners to keep their pets cool and safe.

MDARD said people should provide unlimited cool, clean and fresh water to prevent dehydration. Owners should keep an eye on their pets for signs of heat stress, such as increased panting or drooling and being more lethargic. If they exhibit these signs, they should be moved to a cooler area.

Providing access to shade, fans, misters, pools, cooling mats and air-conditioned spaces will help them stay comfortable too.

People also should test surfaces to make sure they don’t burn an animal’s paws since surfaces such as asphalt, concrete and sand can heat up in the sun. Pets should not be kept in parked vehicles either, even if windows are cracked open and the vehicles are in the shade.

The current weather conditions might linger for a while, so we urge people keep themselves and their pets in mind to get through the hot weather safely.


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