City of Minneapolis: Protect Yourself and Your Pet in Extreme Heat
July 21, 2021
With extremely hot temperatures still in the forecast, Minneapolis city officials want to remind everyone how to handle the heat. Heat-related illnesses occur when the body is unable to cool itself down. The elderly, young children, and people with physical disabilities and pets are most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, but everyone should take steps to stay safe in extreme heat.
The Minneapolis Department of Health works closely with other local jurisdictions and the Minnesota Department of Health to help people prepare for extreme heat events. Minneapolis has an emergency plan that is used to respond when a heat advisory or warning is called by the National Weather Service. The plan is coordinated with a metropolitan-wide notification plan aimed at agencies serving vulnerable populations.
Tips for preventing heat-related illnesses during extreme heat:
- Drink more fluids. Drinking fluids helps your body cool down. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Avoid drinking liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. They can actually cause your body to lose more fluid. Remind anyone for whom you are responsible to drink more water.
- Never leave people or animals in a parked vehicle.
- Wear light, loose clothing.
- Check your neighbors who might be at risk. Visit the elderly and other vulnerable neighbors at least twice a day and look closely for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If you or your neighbors are not vaccinated against COVID-19, you can call, text, video or meet them and keep a distance of 6 feet. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice nausea, weakness, disorientation, rapid heartbeat, and dry skin.
- Take an air conditioning break. Air conditioning is your best defense against heat-related illnesses. If a home is not air conditioned, people can reduce their risk of heat-related illness by spending time in air-conditioned public facilities and by using air conditioning in vehicles.
Drink more fluids. Never leave people or animals in a parked vehicle. Wear light, loose clothing. Check your neighbors who might be at risk. Take an air conditioning break.
For a list of air-conditioned public buildings for those who do not have air conditioning in their homes, visit the Minneapolis City Health Department’s Extreme Heat Preparedness webpage at minneapolismn. gov / resident-services / emergency-preparedness / public -health / extreme heat preparedness.
- Limit outdoor activities, especially at midday when the sun is hottest. Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activity in hot weather. If you must be outdoors, try to limit your activity to the morning and evening hours, pace your activity and take frequent breaks in the shade, drink plenty of fluids and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat. wide brim and sunscreen.
- Don’t rely on an electric fan. Electric fans may seem like a comfort, but when the temperature hits the 90s, fans won’t prevent heat-related illnesses. Using damp rags, showers or baths, or spraying mist on exposed skin will help cool your body temperature.
Limit outdoor activities, especially at midday when the sun is hottest. Don’t rely on an electric fan Tips for wearing a mask in summer
- Choose a mask with breathable fabrics, such as cotton.
- Keep an extra mask with you to swap it out if needed. If your mask gets wet with sweat, its ability to block COVID-19 may decrease.
- If you feel overheated while wearing your mask, take it off for a moment and breathe, making sure you are 6 feet away from others. Make sure to put it back on when you’re ready to continue.
Protect your pets
The temperature inside a car can change dramatically in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t have to be that hot outside for the temperature inside a vehicle to become unsafe for animals left inside, even with cracked windows. Animals left in vehicles can suffer from heat stroke and irreparable damage to organs and brain. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control urges pet owners to take special care to protect their pets when the heat index is so high. Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe and alive:
- Keep your pet indoors and out of direct sunlight.
- Make sure your pet has enough clean, fresh water.
- Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car for any length of time. On a hot day, the temperature in a car can exceed 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windows partially open. Your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation.
If you see an animal outside or in a car showing signs of heat stress, immediately contact Minneapolis Animal Care & Control (MACC) – in Minneapolis, call 311 (612-673-3000). If you believe the situation is endangering your life, please call 911.
To learn more about heat-related illnesses and how to prevent them, visit the City’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness webpage.
This press release was produced by the City of Minneapolis. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.