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Local Residents Affected by the Heat

While area hospitals report an increase in heat related patients the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says heat has contributed to the deaths of at least three people this summer in the state.

The KDHE is reporting that more than 400 people have gone to Kansas hospitals with heat related illnesses, such a heat exhaustion.

KDHE spokesman Jonathan Larance says anyone spending any period outside in the heat should follow guidelines for safety:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, which dehydrate the body. Drink at least a gallon of water a day when spending time outdoors.
  • Wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing.
  • When children play outdoors, dress them lightly, and make sure they take frequent breaks indoors and drink plenty of fluids. A child should never be left in a hot, closed car or near a sunny window. Also, young children should wear a sunscreen of SPF 50 to reduce their risk of sunburn. Infants should have very little or no contact with sunlight.
  • Friends, relatives and neighbors of elderly people should periodically visit them during the summer months and take them to a cooler environment if needed.
  • Take cool showers.
  • Take frequent breaks to cool off.
  • Eat light meals like fruit and salads. Eat apricots, bananas, cantaloupes, oranges, beans, broccoli, potatoes and tomatoes to increase potassium.
  • Schedule outdoor activities for morning and evening, but avoid dawn and dusk due to the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses. When outdoors, try to stay in the shade.
  • Use sunscreen and other measures such as wearing sunglasses to limit UV radiation.
  • Create airflow in hot indoor work areas.
  • Spend most of your time indoors and in an air-conditioned room. If you do not have air conditioning, many larger communities have places where you can go during heat waves including the local health department, senior citizen center, libraries, hospitals and Red Cross. Also, basements are usually cooler than ground-level floors.

For more information on dealing with extreme summer heat, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/index.asp.

About Jeff Ottens