Stay safe while cooling off, advises Health Department

The Kenosha County Division of Health services has issued the following advice for staying safe while seeking relief from the current heat wave:

During the heat wave make sure you are keeping your family safe as you seek relief at the beach or pool! Extreme temperatures can quickly burn the feet, causing second and third degree burns and severe pain. Parents are cautioned to watch young children closely and assure that they have adequate protection on their feet when walking on sand or paved surfaces. Flip flops and typical open-toed beach shoes do not provide the protection necessary to keep young feet safe from the heat. A sturdy, close-toed shoe is recommended for all ages when crossing the hot beach sand or paved surfaces. Once in the water, take steps to prevent drowning. “Drowning is preventable, however each year thousands die and many more are left with long-term impairments including memory problems, learning disabilities, permanent physical disabilities and paralysis,” said Cynthia Johnson, Health Officer/Director with the Kenosha County Division of Health. To reduce the risks of drowning make sure everyone in the water knows how to swim and older children and adults know CPR. When in the water, keep swimmers safe by using life jackets that fit younger or weaker swimmers and providing continuous, attentive supervision close to the swimmers even if there is a lifeguard. Avoid alcohol and drugs when swimming or watching swimmers and check the depth of water before diving to prevent neck / head injuries. When not in the water, prevent access to pools by installing and maintaining barriers (for pools: 4-sided fencing and weight-bearing covers) and using locks or alarms for windows and doors. If you are staying inside to beat the heat, follow these tips to keep your house cool. Cover windows to keep the sun from shining in. If you don’t have an air conditioner, open windows to let the air circulate. When it’s hotter than 95 degrees, use fans to blow hot air out of the window, rather than to blow hot air on to your body. Basements or ground floors are often cooler than upper floors. Taking a cool shower or bath will cool you down. In fact, you will cool down in a cool shower or bath faster than you will in an air-conditioned room! Also, applying cold wet rags to the neck, head and arms and legs will cool down the body quickly. Finally remember to never leave children, disabled persons, elderly, or pets in a parked car – even briefly. Temperatures in a car can become life threatening within minutes.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for a high of 101 today and an excessive heat warning is in effect until 2 p.m. Saturday.

Our previous post on cooling centers is here: http://www.westofthei.com/2012/07/03/cooling-center-list-updated/32201

For more information on extreme heat visit: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/health/InjuryPrevention/WeatherRelated/Heat.htm

For more information about preventing drowning, visit: www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/index.html

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