Tuesday was the first day of summer, but the scorching temperatures in our area have been more reflective of what we typically experience here during the dog days of August.
Weather forecasts have become mind-numbingly repetitive these past few weeks, as meteorologists struggled to find new ways to say ‘‘heat wave’’ or ‘‘record heat.’’ It’s a reminder that air conditioning is our friend.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the option to remain in our climate-controlled homes all day.
The National Weather Service issues a heat advisory when a period of hot temperatures is expected. ‘‘The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible, according to the weather service. ‘‘Drink plenty of fluids. Stay in air-conditioned rooms. Stay out of the sun. And check up on relatives and neighbors.”
When AccuWeather gives such outdoor activities as fishing, running and mowing the yard a “poor” rating — and lists the act of something no more strenuous than playing golf as “fair” — you know it’s too darn hot outside. And when it’s too hot to fish, too hot for golf — well, you won’t hear any of us complaining about it being too cold at home.
There are so many ways the high heat can affect the health of people, pets and plants. The one that comes to mind immediately is the possibility of leaving kids or dogs in cars just long enough to run into a store to grab something. That short amount of time can turn into a nightmare, and we encourage everyone to make sure you don’t trap your child or pet in your vehicle. When temperatures are so hot that asphalt bleeds — as it did on roadways in Crockett Tuesday — you can just imagine how hot it is inside a vehicle.
With local temperatures expected to reach or exceed 100 degrees for the next several days, we urge our readers to heed these weather-related summer safety tips:
■ Check on your neighbors daily — especially the elderly, who may be more susceptible to heat stress, and those on fixed incomes who may be concerned about expensive utility bills.
■ Report any concerns you have about the health and safety of your neighbors to the proper authorities. Report any problems with air conditioning equipment promptly to management.
■ Know the signs of heat-related illness. Early warning signs of dehydration include a change in mental status or confusion, constipation, sunken eyes, no tears, a decrease in blood pressure but increase in pulse rate, listlessness and decreased urine output.
■ When engaging in outdoor activities, take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors. Also, apply and reapply sunscreen often, and don’t forget to protect the top of your head and ears.
■ Wear lightweight, breathable and light-colored clothing.
■ Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Most health officials recommend a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day. Avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine.
Autumn — with its eventual promise of cooler temperatures — doesn’t start until Sept. 22. Until then, you could save someone’s life just by being a good neighbor.