GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Heat was a factor in at least three deaths last year in Michigan. With summer temperatures heating up this week, the Kent County Health Department offers safety tips to stay protected.
1. Bring your kids along for the ride- don't leave them in the car!
Never leave children or animals in a parked vehicle unattended, even with opened windows. Temperatures in a car can reach 120 degrees or more in a matter of minutes, says Cathy Raevsky, health officer for the Kent County Health Department. Last year, 33 children in the U.S. died of hyperthermia when left unattended in a hot car, according to the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences.
2. Encourage the elderly
The elderly have a much more difficult time dealing with heat since their bodies don't adjust as quickly to temperature changes and medications can cause adverse reactions to heat. Be sure to check on elderly adults twice a day and encourage them to drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated. Watch for heat exhaustion symptoms of dizziness, muscle weakness, vomiting, heavy sweating or paleness.
3. Don't fret about pets
Pets dehydrate quickly, so keep them indoors or provide a shady place with fresh drinking water nearby. Keep strenuous activity and playtime short.
4. Stay hydrated
If you wait until you're thirsty to drink, you may already be dehydrated. Drink non-alcoholic fluids often, no matter how active you are, and avoid sugary drinks.
For additional resources, call the free informational and referral service at the Heart of West Michigan United way by dialing 211.
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