Keeping Cool: Tips for People and Pets

Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet annually many people succumb to extreme heat. Here are some tips for keeping cool during the extreme heat and also tips for keeping pets cooled down.

Stay Cool
Keep your body temperature cool to avoid heat-related illness.
•Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.
•Find an air-conditioned shelter.
•Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
•Avoid direct sunlight.
•Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
•Take cool showers or baths.
•Check on those most at-risk twice a day.

Stay Hydrated
Because your body loses fluids through sweat, you can become dehydrated during times of extreme heat.
•Drink more water than usual.
•Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
•Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
•Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
•Remind others to drink enough water.

TIP-Wet a washcloth with cold water. (If you’re really warm, consider placing it in the freezer for a few minutes.) Wring it out, and hold it to the back of your neck. You’ll feel instantly cooler.
TIP-Soak Your Feet in Cold Water. Filling a large bucket with cool water and soaking your feet will help beat the heat.
TIP- Use a spray bottle filled with water and kept in the fridge to spritz yourself with when you feel to hot.
TIP- Eat light, small, frequent meals. Ripe summer fruits like peaches, plums, melons and pears, are exactly what your skin craves for in the hot season. Citrus fruits are also very cooling.Also include salads in your diet. Consuming leafy lettuce and summer greens, corn on cob and cucumbers, in salads are delicious ways to stay cool. These foods contain a significant amount of water and can actually thin the blood, which has a cooling effect.

Infants and Young Children
Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of extreme heat, and must rely on other people to keep them cool and hydrated.
•Never leave infants or children in a parked car.
•Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
•Seek medical care immediately if your child has symptoms of symptoms of heat-related illness.

TIP-Be sure you are constantly giving your child enough water.
TIP- Use cool wet wash clothes to cool babies down
TIP- Popcicles and frozen teething rings are a great way to keep kids cool in the summer.
TIP-If you are worried about your baby in the heat, cool them down in a cool water bath or paddling pool.

Animals/Pets
Never leave your pet in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.

Shade and water are a must. Anytime your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun (a doghouse does not provide relief from heat) and plenty of fresh, cool water.

Limit exercise on hot days. Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets who, because of their short noses, typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible.

Recognize the signs of heatstroke. In case of an emergency, it’s important to be able to identify the symptoms of heat stress caused by exposure to extreme temperatures. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian immediately. Some signs of heatstroke are: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, and unconsciousness.

If you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke, act quickly! Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take her directly to a veterinarian.

*TIP- freeze large water bottles and place in your pets outdoor area so they can cool down next to them. (great idea for cats and rabbits!)
*TIP- add ice cubes to their bowl of drinking water
*TIP- soak a bandanna in water and let it cool in the refrigerator before putting it around your dog’s neck.
*TIP- buy a child size swimming pool to allow your pets to take a dip in cool water.
*TIP- set up a fan outdoors on a porch if you can’t bring your pet inside. (be sure to place cords out of reach) Place a bucket of ice or frozen milk jugs in front of the fan to cooling them down.