Argus Managing Editor
The heat is on in Caledonia and so are our air conditioners. I dread this kind of weather. Not only is it uncomfortable, it’s dangerous.
In 1995 weather just like this killed 750 people in the city of Chicago over the course of just five days. Deaths were also reported in St. Louis and Milwaukee.
The urban heat island effect made matters worse at these locations and is something Caledonia certainly doesn’t have to contend with; however, heat-related illness is still a viable concern for those who work outdoors or in non air-conditioned environments. It is also a concern for elderly and children.
According to the Mayo Clinic, under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you’re exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily and you don’t drink enough fluids.
My husband and I are particularly vigilant in hot weather because our six-year-old has demonstrated great sensitivity to heat and has passed out twice in temperatures as low as 85 degrees. It’s like her little body can’t fight the heat.
Previous day care centers were obviously warned about her condition and typically kept the kids indoors when the mercury rose.
When we moved to Caledonia we were excited to see how active the School Age Care (SAC) program is but became anxious when weather reports indicated high temperatures. We warned the staff about her lack of tolerance but, as you imagine, these last few days have been angst ridden for me.
A drop of peace came to this mother’s heart when the program coordinator, Erin Becker, told me this story: She said she was home on her day off and heard an ambulance go out. After sitting and worrying a moment she went ahead and called the SAC room to make sure it wasn’t my daughter getting hauled out.
It just made me feel good that someone cared enough about the new kid to at least check. It tells me people here want kids and their neighbors to stay safe.
Please stay hydrated in this weather, and remember these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness
• Listen to local news and weather channels for safety updates
• Stay extra hydrated regardless of activity level, and consume 16 to 32 ounces of fluid if you do exercise or work in a hot environment
You can contact Emily Bialkowski at email@example.com