High Heat Poses Danger to Residents

This chart from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the relationship between temperature and humidity, creating heat index.
Staff Writer

The dog days of summer have arrived and with them come dangerous conditions for Auglaize County residents of all ages. The National Weather Service in Wilmington has issued a heat advisory for the St. Marys area from noon Friday to 8 p.m. Saturday.

With heat index values ranging from 100 to 105 or more and actual temperatures in the mid-90s, heat related illness dangers will be elevated throughout the first part of the weekend. County officials are asking residents to not only help keep themselves healthy and safe but they are also asking residents keep an eye on each other. 

“When the temperatures are like this, just a little bit of exertion can cause the elderly to suffer heat stroke, have a syncopal episode or — God forbid — become a fatality,” said Auglaize County Council on Aging Executive Director Bob Warren. “If people have to do anything like mow their grass or something like that, I would say let it go for a few days if you can. If you can’t let it go, make sure you do it earlier in the day."

Warren encourages people to check on elderly family members and neighbors frequently when the weather is hot. He added that some medications can make the elderly more susceptible to heat stress and advised people to check with their doctor or pharmacist to see if heat causes side effects with their medication. He also suggests making sure air conditioning units are in good working order, fans are readily available and that residents have water available. 

Residents are advised to keep an eye out for the symptoms of heat exhaustion including confusion, fainting, headache, dizziness and nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to a more dangerous diagnosis of heat stroke. 

Heat stroke can be identified with symptoms of: throbbing headache; light-headedness; lack of sweat; red, hot and dry skin as well as a rapid heartbeat and rapid breathing. If these symptoms are noticed, move indoors and call 911 for help.

High temperatures are also dangerous for healthy adults and children as well.

“I would always caution people to make sure they stay hydrated and that they drink fluids before spending time outside,” St. Marys Fire Chief Doug Ayers said. “It’s even more important to hydrate before you do any sort of activity outside in this weather. The one thing we don’t want to happen is to have people overexert themselves and have a major medical emergency like heat stroke or heat exhaustion.”

Heat is not only dangerous for humans but it can also be a hazard for the county’s four-legged residents. Auglaize County Dog Warden Russ Bailey said the best way to keep man’s best friend alive and well is to bring dogs indoors.

“This hot weather can be just as dangerous as freezing cold weather,” Bailey said. “If you absolutely have to leave your dog outside for a long period of time, make sure it has shade and lots of cold water. Keep in mind that shade moves throughout the day so if your dog has shade in the morning, it may not have any by the time the heat of the day hits.”

According to temperature readings The Evening Leader acquired with the assistance of the St. Marys Fire Department, temperatures on pavement ranged from 102 to as high as 132 degrees. The temperature readings were taken between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. and showed just how hot the sun can make the Earth. 

Bailey also noted that temperatures inside of vehicles can be exponentially higher than regular air temperatures and he recommended leaving dogs at home while out and about. He said he has had instances both when he was a police officer and as dog warden where he was called to rescue animals locked in cars.

“It’s just not worth it to bring your pet with you to run errands when it’s like this,” he said.

Temperatures are forecasted to be 95 degrees the next two days but are projected to return to the lower 80s by Monday.