It has been unseasonably warm in Chippewa Falls over the last few days with temperatures regularly hitting 90 degrees or more. Clear skies and high humidity days have increased the chances for heat stroke.
Heat stroke occurs when your body temperature rises to dangerous levels. It can happen when your body temperature gets too high as a result of overexertion in extremely high temperatures.
One of the problems of extremely high temperatures is that when it’s hot, basic tasks require an inordinate amount of effort. Chances are you’re already sweating because of the heat, so individuals might not recognize that they are under more physical stress than normal.
In very high temperatures, even something as routine as walking the dog can become dangerous. People can be creatures of routine, and even when they are aware they should avoid physical activity, they’re accustomed to not thinking of their daily chores as difficult.
Even well conditioned athletes can succumb to heat stroke. During running events such as marathons, runners can find themselves in serious distress. When the heat index gets too high, experienced runners know that they should reduce their pace, sometimes even to a walk, to ensure they can get to the finish line safely.
The Chippewa Valley is home to some of the most beautiful lakes and rivers in the state of Wisconsin. It’s a great time of year to explore our natural waterways. Be sure to put on lots of sunblock if you spend your day on the lake because getting a sunburn can add to your risk of heat stroke.
The best way to avoid heatstroke is to try to keep cool, limit your physical activities, stay in the shade or air-conditioned areas, and stay well hydrated. That includes avoiding alcoholic beverages.
The forecast calls for warm temperatures for the next few days, so it’s important to moderate your activity and be smart. Heat waves don’t tend to last very long, and the best strategy is to play it smart, wait it out, and resume your normal behavior when temperatures return to normal.
It’s important to pay special attention to your pets in extreme weather. Do not leave your pet in a parked car when the temperature is this high. Even if you just plan to run into a store for a few minutes, the temperature within the car can rise to dangerous levels.
Take your daily walks in the morning when it is still cool. Pavement can get very hot and it can burn your pet’s paws.
The comical thing about living in Wisconsin is that residents spend half the year complaining about how it’s too cold, and the other half complaining about how it’s too hot. We’re well-conditioned to be take extreme cold seriously, but it’s easy to overlook the dangers of extreme heat.
Pay special attention to yourself and those around you. Even basic tasks require a lot of energy in extreme heat, and it’s very easy to accidentally overexert yourself. Be mindful of your loved ones and your pets, and take heart that temperatures should return to normal within the course of a few days.