Beating the heat

With temperatures around 90 degrees Tuesday, Rosedale Rapids Aquatic Center was full of people trying to beat the heat.

“We’ve been close to capacity,” said Jerry Ellendson, pool supervisor. “We’ve been pretty busy these last two days.”

Capacity is 1,100. About half as many people go to the aquatic center on an average day, according to Ellendson – though recent unseasonalbly cool temperatures have taken a toll on attendance at the center, which has closed five days due to low attendance.

Rising temperatures mean that heat has been a concern at the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union State Softball Tournament, according to Michelle Mann, a certified athletic trainer for Trinity Regional Medical Center.

A team of athletic trainers has worked to keep the athletes, umpires and spectators cool and hydrated.

Trinity has provided an air-conditioned tent for people feeling the effects of the heat.

Mann advised using fans or cold wet cloths to stay cool.

“Stay inside and drink plenty of water,” she said.

The Webster County Health Department and Trinity Regional Medical Center offer advice to stay safe when the temperatures rise.

“Drink plenty of water,” Jamie Saxton, a receptionist for the Webster County Health Department, said. “Anybody is at risk for heat exhaustion.”

Children, the elderly, overweight people and anyone doing manual labor are at greater risk, she said.

“We recommend checking on neighbors and the elderly,” Saxton said. “A lot of elderly don’t like to use their air conditioners.”

Following the advice will reduce the risk of heat exhaustion.

“This is what we tell people to do,” Saxton said. “When it heats up like this, we’re called quite frequently.”

The Health Department doesn’t offer any cooling stations or programs that help people beat the heat, but it is working to educate people, she said.

Saxton suggested going somewhere air-conditioned.

Going to the mall or the library is a good idea for people who don’t own an air conditioner, Saxton said.

Saxton said to drink plenty of water and “avoid pop and alcohol.”

She also said to avoid caffeine.

“Wear appropriate clothing,” she said. This includes light-weight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.

Saxton said to apply sunscreen every 30 to 60 minutes if you’re out in the sun.

She also said that it’s good to get out of the sun at least every two hours.

“Check on the elderly and neighbors without air-conditioning,” Saxton said. “Do not ever leave children or animals in a car – ever.”

If the outside temperature is 90 degrees, within 10 minutes the inside of a car will be close to 110 degrees. After 90 minutes, the inside of a car can reach close to 140 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.

Summer temperatures can reach as high as 110 in central Iowa, according to the National Weather Service.

In the past 136 years in central Iowa, the month of August has seen temperatures higher than 90 degrees 97 percent of the time.

Temperatures get above 100 degrees in August 17 percent of the time.