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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

Heat, heat and more heat

Jess Shut Up


It’s hotter than a woolly mammoth in a sweater factory. There are lots of classic sayings out there to describe the current heat wave.

Has anyone tried frying an egg on the sidewalk yet? Or barbecuing without turning on the gas? Just curious because it has been that hot. Most are probably sitting in our “cool spot” in the house with a wet rag on your head, a mason jar of ice water in your right hand and an icepack under your undercarriage. If you’re lucky, you don’t have to go outside too much. Just long enough to water plants and move sprinklers and dash back to your ice pack. But if you must go out, let’s be safe.

Drink water, water and more water. It is super easy to get dehydrated in these conditions. Even if you spend all day keeping cool in the water at the beach, ironically you must still drink a lot of water to keep the engine running. If you are running low on coolant in your car it will overheat and eventually the engine melts down and you’re stuck. The same goes with your body. If it is not getting the H2O it needs, it will also overheat, and without proper hydration your brain will actually start to shrink and cells start dying. So drink water. Not pop or energy drinks or alcohol, they only accelerate the dehydration process.

If you must go outside, wear loose fitting clothing and try and keep covered. A hat is a must. Or a bandanna, (no not a banana). But banana boat is a good idea or another sun screen/blocker to protect you from those harmful rays. Stay aware of your exposure time even if you’re protected. An hour in the sun equals an hour out of the sun — a good rule to remember. Wet clothing is a good way to cool off, but if you remain in the sun’s heat beware that you can actually get steam burns as the clothes dry out causing your skin to dry out faster and burn easier. You will also burn faster when you’re in the water, the water acts as a magnifying glass on your protective layer. But a quick dip and an hour in the shade is a great way to stay at good temperatures.

Let’s not forget our furry friends. Again, water, water and more water. Keep the water dish, bowl, bucket or trough filled. Our cats enjoy an ice cube in their dish. They told me so. Also, if you care for the feathered friends, keep their bird bath filled too. It doesn’t take long for those newly hatched birds to become fried … um, you get the idea.

No pets in cars. Period. This time of year, with this heat the temp in our cars, even with open window can reach double the actual temperature in less than an hours’ time. If you must travel with your pet, air conditioning is a must, bring water with you for the critter and try and not to leave your furry pet unattended. If they start panting uncontrollably, get them cooled off quickly.

Be safe and smart. This is not the time to go off-roading. The slightest heat source on the dry grass can spark something very big. It is a good time to have no open fires and if you must, then only in designated fire pits, and make sure you put them out completely. Trust me, I was a firefighter, and it is absolutely miserable to fight fire in this heat, not to mention very dangerous.

The big thing is PLEASE follow the rules with the fireworks. The 4th of July is always fun to get together with the fam and light up the sky, but be safe for everyone’s sake. Be safe out there.

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