The Milwaukee Health Department is issuing a heat alert — here’s how to keep you and your pets cool

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — The Milwaukee City Health Department and Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management in cooperation with the National Weather Service released a heat health advisory for Tuesday, June 21 from noon to 7 p.m. in southeastern Wisconsin. Experts say that keeping you and your four-legged friends cool is extremely important to your health and theirs.

While it may be tempting to sit outside in the sun, dermatologists say it can harm you in the long run if you’re not careful.

“The sun is UV radiation, and when that UV radiation hits our skin, some of those wavelengths can go deep enough to affect DNA,” said dermatology expert Apple Bodemer of UW-Health.

UW-Health dermatology expert Apple Bodemer said that over time this can lead to skin cancer, which is why the best way is to protect yourself from the sun or cover yourself with sheets that block UV rays.

If you must be in the sun, high SPF sunscreen is the way to go and you must use plenty of it.

“It’s a heaping handful, it’s not that tiny little smear that we like to put on and call good,” Bodemer explains of how much you need to match the amount used when companies test sunscreen.

For our friends who can’t wear sunscreen, veterinarian John Hallett and Hallett Veterinary Hospital in Oconomowoc said providing plenty of water and shade is key.

Never leave a dog in the car.

“If they’re in a closed car, which gets hot, it also gets humid, and they’re not going to cool down at all,” Hallett said.

He said dogs sweat through the balls of their feet and from panting, which is why it’s important that your dog doesn’t walk on hot asphalt, as his paws can even blister and peel off.

“It’s very, very painful to walk on,” Hallet said.

He said you don’t want to cover her feet either.

When both cats and dogs seem like they’re getting hot, Hallett said there are some simple things you can do to help them cool down.

“Using cool water on their foot pads can help, maybe a cool washcloth on their neck or armpits can also be good,” Hallet said.

To avoid heat-related illness or death, the Milwaukee Health Department advises citizens to take the following precautions, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

stay calm

  • Slower. Limit physical activity and try to spend part of your day in air-conditioned spaces such as shopping malls, movie theaters, or libraries.
  • Never leave children or pets in a parked car. Temperatures can become life-threatening within minutes.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers and use wet towels on your skin to cool off.
  • Don’t rely on fans as the primary cooling device.
  • Check the most vulnerable twice a day.

drink enough

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, regardless of thirst.
  • Avoid consuming caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as they can increase the effects of heat.
  • Remind others to drink enough water.

stay informed

  • Check local news and weather reports for extreme heat warnings and safety tips.
  • Watch out for symptoms of heat-related illness
  • Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: profuse sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, or fainting
  • Symptoms of heat stroke include: extremely high body temperature, hot and dry skin (no sweating), rapid heart rate, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or loss of consciousness
  • Check relatives, friends, or neighbors, especially those most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, including the very young, the elderly, and those taking certain medications (especially certain medications related to blood pressure, heart disease, and mental health).

For further information, click here.

About Clayton Arredondo

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