Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 18, 2013

Officials warn of dangers with hot weather

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — With local temperatures in the 90s, accompanied by oppressive humidity levels, emergency officials are advising area residents to limit outdoor chores and activities to avoid potential health problems.

“Stay indoors as much as possible. If you have to work outside, drink water, take a lot of breaks and get in the shade,” said Amber Holly, deputy director of Boyd County Emergency Management.

“Avoid the pop. It has lots of sugar and it will make you more thirsty ... and it can cause stomach cramps,” Holly said, emphasizing anyone dealing with the heat should always drink water, and drink it often. People should also make a point of avoiding alcohol while working or playing outdoors, she said.

Physical protection from the sun’s rays is also crucial, Holly said, advising people to try limiting outdoor activities to early morning and later in the evening. People who are exposed to the heat and sun should wear a hat, as well as loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes.

“And sunscreen!” she said, adding individuals should apply a sunscreen product with an SPF rating of at least 15. The most effective sunscreen products should have the words “broad spectrum” on the label, she said.

Elderly people and infants are among those who are most at risk during high heat days, Holly said, asking people to make a point of checking in on older neighbors and friends, as well as families with young children, as well as anyone with high blood pressure or heart disease, mental illness or physical limitations. People who find themselves in an overheated situation should seek a cooler place to stay, she added.

“While there are no public cooling shelters open, people can go to places like the library or the mall or to other family,” she said, later adding people and pets should never be left in a car or other vehicle under current heat conditions.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.