August 29, 2014

Libraries to serve as cooling centers

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, in cooperation with the Johnson County Library, encourages citizens who need a place to cool down during hot days to visit one of 13 library branches. All of these facilities will be available during normal business hours.
Libraries offer many services in addition to a cool place to rest and restore. You can read books, magazines and newspapers, or access the Internet. Library hours vary by location. Call (913) 826-4600 to check hours of operation for your nearest library branch, or visit the Library web site at LINK.
The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment recommends the following to stay safe in the heat:
• Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Check with your doctor if you have restrictions related to fluid intake.
• Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go somewhere cool—even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
• Electric fans may provide comfort, but when temperatures are in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• If you must be out in the heat, limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
• Exercise in an air-conditioned place and drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
• If you have to be outside, try to rest often in shady areas.
• Protect yourself from the sun by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some are at greater risk than others. Be sure to check regularly on:
• People aged 65 or older
• People taking certain medications, including narcotics, sedatives, and diuretics
• Toddlers left in cars and infants less than one year old
• Athletes who are not used to working out in warm environments
• People who work outside
• People who have a mental illness or are physically ill, especially with heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes

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