Extreme heat is a hazardous condition. Officials at the American Red Cross and the Maine Animal Welfare Program, part of the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, offer these tips to stay well in the heat.

 

Tips for people

• Don’t leave children or pets in a vehicle unattended. The inside temperature of cars can quickly reach 120 degrees.

• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol.

• Check on family, friends and neighbors who don’t have air conditioning, who spend a lot of time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

• If you don’t have air conditioning, find a cool place to spend time during the warmest part of the day, such as cooling centers, libraries, theaters or malls.

• Avoid extreme temperature changes.

• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.

• Slow down, stay inside and avoid strenuous exercise during the warmest part of the day.

• Postpone outdoor games and activities.

• Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat. Take frequent breaks if working outside.

Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion. Anyone showing these symptoms should be moved to a cooler place, where tight clothing can be removed or loosened. Spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink slowly. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 911.

Signs of heat stroke — a life threatening condition — include hot, red skin, that may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature. If someone is showing signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately. Move the person to a cooler place and quickly cool the body by immersing in cool water or douse with cold water and cover with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

 

Tips for pets

• Leave pets at home if you have to run errands in the heat.

• When traveling, stop at places where your pet can get out of the vehicle.

• Provide fresh, cool drinking water at all times, including in your vehicle while traveling.

• Make sure outdoor kennels are well-ventilated and shaded, with water bowls that will not tip.

• Don’t exercise pets on hot days or warm, humid nights.

• Clip long coats to about an inch — shorter clips or shaving may leave dogs vulnerable to sunburn.

 

Tips for livestock

• Avoid transporting animals at temperature higher than 80 degrees with humidity.

• Park vehicles loaded with livestock in the shade.

• Deliver animals at night or in the early morning.

• Provide well-ventilated air space in farm trucks, barns or any enclosure.

• Provide fresh drinking water at all times and provide shade in resting, eating and watering areas.

• Use a water sprinkling system to cool animals.

Heatstroke is a threat for both pets and livestock, and can be fatal, even with prompt treatment. Animals that are more susceptible include those that already have suffered heatstroke, young and very old animals, those that have health problems,  overweight animals and those that are are snub-nosed.

Signs of heatstroke in small animals include excessive panting, staring or stupor; breathing difficulty; an anxious expression; refusal to obey; warm, dry skin; fever; rapid heartbeat; vomiting; diarrhea; seizures; and collapse. In large animals, signs of heat stress and stroke may include restlessness, stumbling, increased heart rate and salivation, panting, collapse and convulsions. If you see any of these signs, immediately call your veterinarian.

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