Hot temperatures send people running for water and shelter

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 13, 2002

In the face of above average July temperatures, Albert Leans are using time-tested solutions to keep cool.

As in previous summers, lakes and pools in the area are seeing much use.

&uot;So far we’ve been extremely busy,&uot; said Albert Lea Aquatic Center recreation assistant Lon Sorenson.

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Lifeguards at the Aquatic Center make sure to drink plently of fluids, take breaks in the shade and even get in the pool once in a while to stay cool. Additionally, the pool’s hourly safety breaks remind patrons to do the same.

The pool is open from noon-8 p.m. daily until the end of August. Admission for children is $2.25, and $3 for adults.

For road workers repairing downtown Albert Lea streets there is no escape from high temps &045; their only option is to deal with it.

&uot;We just make sure to drink a lot of water and Gatorade,&uot; said Ryan Skelly of Ulland Bros Construction. Until they move to a different location at the beginning of August the workers will swelter on the pavement for 12 hours a day.

&uot;We play this game called ‘Drip, Drip, Splash’,&uot; said camper Hanna Root, when asked what they do at YMCA Day Camp to stay cool. Like &uot;Duck, Duck, Greyduck,&uot; only involving a bucket of water, the game is part of the Y’s water curriculum. They frequently visit the aquatic center and city beach on fieldtrips.

So what happens when you can’t avoid overheating? Common problems that can result from prolonged exposure to hot weather are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.

Both heat cramps and exhaustion are treatable at home, but heatstroke is a serious affliction that is potentially life threatening. It causes the body’s normal regulating mechanisms like sweating and temperature control to fail.

The Mayo Clinic’s Web site lists the following information on symptoms and first steps to take if you suspect someone is suffering from one of these heat related illnesses:

Heat cramps

Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms. They usually occur after vigorous exercises and profuse perspiration. Your abdominal muscles and ones you use during exercise are most frequently affected. If you suspect you’re suffering from heat cramps take the following actions:

– Rest briefly and cool down.

– Eat salty foods.

– Drink water with a teaspoon of salt per quart

Heat exhaustion

Signs of heat exhaustion include an increased temperature, faintness, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, an ashen appearance, cold, clammy skin and nausea. Symptoms often begin suddenly, sometimes after excessive perspiration and inadequate fluid intake.

– If you suspect heat exhaustion, get the person out of the sun and into a shady spot or an air-conditioned location. Then lay the person down and elevate his or her feet slightly. Loosen or remove clothing.

– Give cold &045; not iced &045; water to drink, or give an electrolyte-containing drink, such as one of the popular sports drinks.

– Monitor people with heat exhaustion carefully. Although less dangerous than heatstroke, heat exhaustion can quickly become heatstroke


Older adults and obese people are particularly at risk of heatstroke. Other risk factors include dehydration, alcohol use, heart disease, certain medications and vigorous exercise. People born with an impaired ability to sweat are particularly at risk. Signs of heatstroke include rapid heartbeat, rapid and shallow breathing, confusion, and either increased or lowered blood pressure. Fainting can be the first sign on older adults. A victim may stop sweating, but this isn’t a reliable sign.

If you suspect heatstroke, get emergency help immediately, move the person out of the sun and into a shady spot or an air-conditioned space, and give him or her a sponge bath.

Temp tips

Want to know how hot it really is? There are a few simple things you can do to ensure your thermometer is accurate.

Make sure the thermometer is out of direct sunlight. When the instrument is subject to sunlight the actual device is warmed, raising temperature readings.

The location of the thermometer should be a place with good air circulation, preferably mounted five to eight feet in the air &045; not on the side of your house or in the garage.

Calibrate the instrument regularly; weather extremes and regular wear and tear can cause inaccuracies.