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Editorial -- It’s hot: Stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed

Three-digit temperatures are on the horizon. Health districts and Centers for Disease Control are reminding people to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

There are simple precautions to take to keep yourself and your family safe during extended periods of heat. This is especially important for children and seniors who are more at risk for heat-related illnesses. When possible, stay in air-conditioned areas, drink lots of fluids — water is best. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary or salty drinks.

Wear light, loose fitting clothing and limit outdoor activities to the cool morning and late evening. Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and claiming more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined.

The most vulnerable individuals are those who work or exercise outdoors, adults over 65, infants and children under 4, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition.

Officals also advise:

  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • If you’re considering taking a cool dip somewhere, keep these factors in mind.
  • Glacier-fed waters such as Hood River are cold — the combination of temperature, collision, and currents is a dangerous one. Go in slowly, and know your swimming hole. Water conditions and underwater hazards can change from season to season. At the Hood River waterfront, familiarize yourself with the emergency access zones, newly posted this year from the Hook eastward.
  • The park off Highway 35 at the old Powerdale plant is accessible, but please stay off the adjacent Mt. Hood Railroad trestle.
  • Remember your pets’ needs during hot weather. Your dog might love coming along in the car when you run errands, but he loves staying somewhere cool even more. The temperature inside a car rises to dangerous levels for dogs in just a matter of minutes, even with the windows cracked open. When the temperature outside is 78 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 105 degrees in just 20 minutes.

If you see a pet in a hot car:

  • Write down information about the vehicle (make, model, color, license plate number)
  • Alert the management of any nearby business, who could make an emergency announcement
  • Call local police or animal control
  • Stay by the vehicle until help arrives

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