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Tips to stay cool during the heat wave

A severe heat wave is sweeping through the Midstate, posing potentially lethal risks. According to the American Red Cross, extreme heat claims more lives than any other weather phenomenon.

Rob Walker, chief of operations at Warwick Community Ambulance, emphasized the brutal impact of hot days. “These hot days just bake you out there,” Walker remarked.

The key to staying safe in such conditions is hydration. Walker recommended drinking electrolyte beverages like Gatorade to replenish lost fluids. He highlighted symptoms such as dry mouth, thirst, dizziness, and cautioned that dehydration can escalate rapidly. “If you start feeling cramps, nausea, or dizziness, these are signs of heat exhaustion that can quickly progress to heat stroke,” Walker warned.

Pets are also vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. Dr. Tara Rabuffo from Lititz Veterinary Clinic advised pet owners to check pavement temperatures before walking dogs, especially if it’s over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. “If it’s warm to your hand, it will burn their paws,” Dr. Rabuffo cautioned. She stressed the importance of keeping pets out of vehicles during heat waves, as temperatures inside can soar up to 20 degrees higher than outside.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) offered tips to help reduce air conditioning costs during heat waves:

  • Turn off non-essential appliances and lights to minimize power usage and excess heat.
  • Close off unused rooms and adjust air vents or thermostats to avoid unnecessary cooling expenses.
  • Increasing the air conditioning thermostat by just one degree above 72 degrees can save up to 3% on cooling costs.

With children out of school and enjoying summer, Walker emphasized the need for vigilance. He noted that children may not recognize heat-related illness symptoms and may continue playing outdoors despite feeling unwell. “Keep an eye on those kids because they don’t know what it’s like to be overheated,” Walker advised. “They may not realize they’re not feeling great until it’s too late.”

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