The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 19, 2013

Stay cool

The Register-Herald

— The “dog days of summer” are upon us.

Our concern for our readers is that you stay cool and healthy while enjoying the many activities that this season brings.

If you’re planing on working outdoors, or heading out to the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, or to a play at Theatre West Virginia, or if you’re planning on visiting the Jamboree, plan ahead to assure that you and your family have the best experience possible — without risking your health.

Here are some important safety tips from the American Red Cross:

- Prepare. Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household. Have a plan for what to do if the power goes out.

- Dress for the heat. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.

- Stay hydrated. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine, which dehydrate the body.

- Slow down and avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 and 7 a.m. Take frequent breaks.

- Stay indoors when possible. If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Remember that electric fans do not cool; they simply circulate the air.

- Be a good neighbor. During heat waves, check in on family, friends and neighbors who are elderly or ill and those who do not have air conditioning. Check on your animals frequently, too, to make sure they are not suffering from the heat.

Heat emergencies are a serious matter.

The American Red Cross also provides these general care tips:

- Heat exhaustion: Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. If the person is fully awake and alert, give half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes, and have the person drink slowly. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths to the skin. Fan the person. Call 911 or the local emergency number if the person refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness.

- Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation. Help is needed fast. Call 911 or your local emergency number. Move the person to a cooler place.

Our wish is that our readers enjoy the many thrilling summer activities we have going on in our area this weekend. But please do so responsibly and safely.