Showing posts with label heat stress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heat stress. Show all posts

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hot cars, children, and pets – a deadly combination

Each year approximately 38 individuals die due to being left in hot cars, according to San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences. The mix can be deadly for pets, too.  How can you keep your family safe in vehicles this summer season?

How hot does a vehicle get in summer?

According to this site, a vehicle’s temperature can increase 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. On what seems to be a mild day, the inside of a car can quickly become like an oven.

How can a hot vehicle affect children or pet?

Heat stress, heat stroke, a form of hypothermia, suffocation, and irreversible organ damage are all possible risks of being left in a hot vehicle. A hot vehicle can mean danger for the elderly and disabled individuals, too.

Symptoms of heat stress include:

Difficulty breathing or heavy breathing
Glassy eyes
Rapid pulse

Why are hot cars more deadly for certain individuals and pets?

The bodies of children and elderly adults don’t regulate temperature as well as others. As a result, their body temperatures rise 3-5 times faster than that of a healthy adult’s.
In some cases, they can’t let you know they’re hot and uncomfortable even if they realize they are.

Common reasons animals or kids are left in cars:

Even when individuals are aware of the dangers of leaving children, certain adults, or pets in a car, many are still left behind for a number of reasons. Here are a few:

The errand will only take 5 minutes.  In reality, the errand takes longer than just a few minutes, the vehicle quickly heats up, and the individual or pet you’ve left behind is in danger.
There’s a change in routine. In some cases, children are left in a car by the parent who doesn’t normally drop the child off at daycare or school. While this isn’t done intentionally, it can happen to the best of parents when there’s a change in routine.
Driver distraction. You receive a phone call or make an unexpected stop on your way to daycare or school. When you arrive at your destination, you’ve forgotten you have a passenger in the vehicle.
I left the window cracked or the car running with the air conditioning on.  According to the Humane Society, neither of these measures will compensate for the temperature rising in the vehicle.

The National Safety Council recommends:

Place something important, such as your wallet, on the backseat floor of your vehicle, so you’ll open the back door of the vehicle when you reach your destination.
Set up a system with your childcare provider or your child’s school to call you if your child does not arrive by a designated time.
Always check the front and back of your vehicle before locking the doors and walking away.
Have a routine of placing a stuffed animal or doll in your child’s car seat when it’s not in use. Move the object to the front seat when your child occupies the car seat as a reminder that your child is in the car.
Keep vehicles locked when they’re not in use so children can’t wander in by themselves.
If a child goes missing, immediately check vehicles and their trunks.

Help prevent this dangerous occurrence by sharing information regarding the danger of hot vehicles with others!

Be Wize & Be Healthy

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Exercise Safely, Despite the Heat

The warm weather and longer days of summer provide the perfect environment for outside activities and exercise. Yet, these same factors can make it challenging to exercise safely. By taking some simple precautions, you can ensure your safety and health despite the heat.

Exercising in the heat and humidity causes extra stress on the body, according to experts at The Mayo Clinic. Even well conditioned athletes face challenges working out in the heat. From heat cramps to heat exhaustion, there are a variety of heat-related illnesses that may occur as a result of exercising in the hot weather.

Running in the heat

Follow these simple steps to optimize safety and health:

  • Hydrate properly Drink plenty of water. Sports drinks, designed to replace sodium, chloride and potassium lost during sweating, are recommended if exercise will last longer than one hour.
  • Dress appropriately Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing made of polyester or polyester blends is best in hot weather; avoid cotton clothing. Layer pieces for easier removal as the body gets warmer.
  • Watch temperatures If necessary, move outside activities indoors or plan them for a cooler time of day. Mornings and evenings are best times for outdoor activities.

How can I prevent dehydration?

When exercising in the heat, water should be consumed regularly throughout the day to ensure proper hydration, according to Andrew T. Levine, ATC, CSCS, graduate assistant and athletic trainer at Long Island University. In addition, avoid excessive consumption of caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, as they will contribute to dehydration.

In addition:

Before exercise: Drink 16-32 ounces of fluid about 2 hours prior to exercising. This allows enough time for water to enter muscles and other tissue, and other fluids to be excreted.

During exercise: Consume 6-8 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes.

After exercise: Drink 16 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.

Exercising in the heat

What is heat stress?

Dehydration is a leading cause of heat-related illnesses. When the body becomes overheated and sweat can’t evaporate fast enough to keep the body cool heat stress can occur, according to the Center for Disease Control Symptoms of heat stress include:

Muscle cramps
Profuse sweating (decreased or absence of sweat in severe cases)
Decreased concentration or performance

If any symptoms of heat stress occur while exercising:

Stop activity immediately
Get out of the heat
Remove any extra clothing as well as sports equipment
Drink fluids, preferably water or sports drinks
Fan the body or wet it down with cool water
If symptoms continue after 30 minutes, contact a doctor

Heat stress is a serious condition. Left untreated, it can lead to heat stroke, a life-threatening illness. Signs of heat stroke are:

1. Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
2. Hallucinations
3. Chills
4. Throbbing headache
5. High body temperature
6. Confusion/dizziness
7. Slurred speech

Keep in mind:

Wear sunscreen Sunburn will inhibit the body’s ability to cool itself, making it more of a challenge to exercise in the heat.
Listen to your body Slow down, if needed. There is no shame in taking it down a notch during hot, humid weather.

Despite these health concerns, it is possible to exercise safely in the heat. Experts agree it’s not necessary to change your exercise routine in most instances.  With a little planning, safe summer workouts can be enjoyed this season.

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

Monday, August 12, 2013

Keep Pets Safe This Summer

Keeping pets safe during the hot summer months includes limiting time in vehicles as well as homes without air conditioning to prevent heat stress. But, did you know, there are many more hazards that threaten pets’ safety during the warmer months?

Cat outside

Keep these safety tips handy, and enjoy a happy, safe summer with your pets.

  • Hot concrete can burn: it’s advisable to take walks with pets during early morning hours or later in the evening when pavement isn't a risk to pets’ delicate pads.
  • Bodies of water can be dangerous: while swimming can be a great summer activity for pets, never leave pets unattended near a swimming pool, pond, lake or river. Even with pets that are typically great swimmers, accidents can occur very quickly and unexpectedly.
  • Toxic plants can cause harm: that beautiful flower that blooms in the summer may cause stomach upset, or worse, if Fido gets into it. Certain types of mushrooms may be toxic, even causing liver damage in some instances. Veterinarians warn that many common plants are surprisingly harmful to pets. For a complete list of hazardous plants, visit
  • More than just an annoying bite: pests such as heartworms, ticks and fleas are much more prevalent in the warmer months. Speak with your vet regarding the best method for preventing these creatures from infesting pets. In areas such as the Northeast where cicadas are so prevalent, a potential bite may not be of concern. But, if pets ingest one, it can cause digestive upset.
  • Beware of the sun: pets can suffer sunburn and even skin cancer from sun exposure just like their human companions. Those with white hair, short cuts or naturally thin hair are particularly susceptible.
  • Provide shade for pets to help prevent heat stress and keep pets safe from sun exposure.
  • Use pet-safe sunscreen for dogs or horses; sunscreen for cats is still a work in progress, according to Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM. Visit for additional information.
  • Sunglasses/goggles are available at pet shops and supply stores to protect precious eyes from sun damage.

Dog outside

Additional tips for safety at home:

  • Remember that fire pits and grills can be dangerous to pets. Flames can burn a curious pet and ashes can cause illness if ingested.
  • Although they’re an exciting part of the summer season, fireworks can cause injuries if pets get too close to them. In addition, just the noise from fireworks can scare pets, causing them to run away. In fact, more pets run away and are lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year, according to dog expert Cesar Millan.
  • Thunderstorms can cause the same reaction as fireworks. Keep an eye on pets during these noisy summer occurrences.

Additional information regarding summer pet safety can be obtained by visiting the American Veterinary Medicine Association’s site at

Summer activities can be a great way for you and your family to bond with furry friends. With this safety checklist, you can ensure safety at home for you and your pets this summer.

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer