Be smart, heed all heat alerts

Anyone hoping for a break in the hot, oppressive weather — and around here, that often also means messages on our weather apps that tell us air quality is a problem for “sensitive groups” — is going to be disappointed if they were hoping for a break. Forecasters suggest it is only going to get hotter and more humid in the coming days.

That could be dangerous, particularly as we have reached the time of year for ball games, band camps and football practices.

Be smart about it, folks; and remember kids don’t usually think about things like sunscreen and hydration. As Dr. Tina Smith, a pediatrician with the Memorial Health System, said “They don’t know their own limits. They don’t follow their thirst cues.”

Ignoring the signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion can be fatal. So it is up to all of us to watch out for one another — and not just the kids. Any vulnerable person (or animal) could be at risk in this kind of weather.

Check on your friends and neighbors — particularly those who perhaps don’t have air conditioning in their homes … or are the stubborn types who decided to stick with their lawn mowing schedule no matter the weather. And remember animals need to be able to get into the shade and have access to plenty of water … or a nice cool spot indoors, if it’s an option.

Again, everyone, not just children, needs to take plenty of breaks if working or playing outdoors; stay out of the direct sunlight as much as possible (and wear sunscreen); drink lots of water; and pay attention to any signs that the heat is becoming a problem anyway. The heat is more than just the inspiration for a lot of grumbled one-liners. It can be deadly.

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