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Try to stay cool
Take care in the heat, keep an eye on others

With the ongoing hot weather, there are some sanctuaries locally where one can stay cool, if just for a spell.

• The Great Bend Public Library offers itself as a haven. During the summer it opens at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday and at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday. It remains open until 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, until 8 p.m. on Thursday and until 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

It is closed on Sundays.

• Churches in the Prince of Peace Parish in Great Bend.

 It’s hot outside and health officials are warning Kansans to use caution when being out in the extreme heat.

“We just need to be aware,” Barton County Health Director Shelly Schneider said. Whether its listening to one’s own body or keeping track of their neighbors, we just need to know what excessive heat can do.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment advises people to use caution during the extreme heat that is anticipated to last for several days.

“The best defense against heat-related illness is prevention,” said Dr. Greg Lakin, Kansas Department of Health and Environment chief medical officer. “Staying cool and making simple changes in fluid intake, activities and clothing during hot weather can help you remain safe and healthy.”

According to the National Weather Service, heath indices are forecasted to be from 100 to 109 degrees in many parts of Kansas through Saturday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year, . 

People who face the highest risk of heat-related illness include infants and young children up to four years of age, adults over age 65, people who have chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease or obesity), those taking certain medications and people who work or exercise in extreme heat. 

“The older you are, the more important it is that you keep cool because heat waves can be deadly,” said Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.“Bear in mind that many seniors suffer from poor circulation and may feel too ‘cold’ to sit tight in an air-conditioned room. The medications they take, likewise, can affect blood pressure and respiration, particularly during times of extreme heat.”  

AMAC also suggests that you keep tabs on elderly relatives and neighbors when it is hot and humid. Be aware that the humidity can prevent sweat from evaporating, in turn reducing its normal cooling effect. So Look in on them from time to time during long stretches of hot weather. 

Staying safe in the heat

The Barton County Health Department has some tips for preventing heat-related illness, including:

• Stay cool: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a good way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.

• Schedule outdoor activities carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest.

• Pace yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat.  

• Wear sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool and can make you dehydrated. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply. Find shade if needed.

• Do not leave children in cars: Cars can quickly heat up, even with a window cracked open.  

• Drink plenty of fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.

• Replace salt and minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. A sports drink can replace what i lost in sweat. If you are on a low-salt diet or chronic conditions, talk with your doctor first.

• Keep your pets hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water and leave the water in a shady area.

• Know the signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.

• Use a buddy system: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness.