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Hot times

Thermometers are on the rise, with triple-digit readings returning to northwest Kansas. Hays posted a high of 106 degrees Tuesday, tying the record set in 1953. And while the heat should subside somewhat the rest of the week, summer has arrived.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service suggest the intense heat will be intermittent, at least for the near future. Residents of the region need to pay close attention and protect themselves from Mother Nature's offerings.

"The important thing is there's the potential for heat stroke with the rapidly changing temperatures from mild to very hot," said Larry Ruthi, a meteorologist with NWS in Dodge City. "For the next few weeks, we could see a similar pattern."

Even though Ruthi doesn't expect this summer to be as brutal as it was in 2012, there will be plenty of days with 100 degree-plus readings. The potential for illness will be present, particularly for the very young, the elderly and those with chronic disease or mental illness. Sunburns, heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke need to recognized and treated as expeditiously as possible.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has the following tips to help prevent heat-related illnesses:

* Spend more time indoors with air-conditioning;

* Drink plenty of water, even if you are not thirsty;

* Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages;

* Wear loose, light-colored clothing and sunscreen;

* Schedule outdoor activities carefully, such as early in the day or later in the evening;

* Limit outdoor activities and take frequent breaks to cool off;

* Monitor or check on people at high risk;

* Eat light meals;

* Never leave a child in a car seat, even with the windows down;

* Ensure your pets have free access to fresh drinking water.

All of the suggestions are common sense, yet worth repeating. We might not be able to control the weather, but we can control our own responses to it.

Northwest Kansas is no stranger to extreme heat during the summer. Let's all do our part to ensure we're all around to complain about it later.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net