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Simple ways to stay cool in the heat

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Heading to a city beach at Akeley (pictured), Nevis, Park Rapids or Menahga is one way to beat the heat.
Enterprise 2020 file photo
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Hot temperatures are in the forecast for the weekend.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, this weekend will feature a rapid warm up to well above normal temperatures, with widespread 90s likely on Saturday and Monday and temperatures approaching 100 degrees on Sunday in this area.

While many people will simply turn up their air conditioner and stay indoors, there are simple things anyone without air conditioning or who needs to be outdoors can do to stay cooler and prevent heat stroke.

Jump in the lake or find AC

Due to the late spring, water temperatures are cooler than average. Nevis, Park Rapids, Akeley and Menahga all have city beaches that are open to the public. According to lakemonster.com, as of June 16, water temperatures range from 63 to 68 degrees in these lakes.

Another option is to spend some time in an air-conditioned building.

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Drink water

According to the Sanford Health website, intense exercise activities should be limited to 15 minutes to avoid heat stress.

Even if not feeling thirsty, drink water before beginning any activity. When active, a 90-pound child needs five ounces of water every 20 minutes and a 130-pound adolescent requires 9 ounces of water.

Wear lightweight clothing and only one layer of absorbent materials. Shorten periods of activity and include more frequent water breaks.

The Sanford Health website includes information on other heat-related topics, including symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and keeping babies safe in hot weather.

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How to stay cool without AC
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Tips to keep animals cool

According to staff at the Headwaters Animal Shelter in Park Rapids, high outdoor temperatures can lead to overheating, burnt extremities, heat stroke and sunburn in animal companions.

Dogs and cats outdoors need an adequate amount of shade and access to cool water. Dogs can experience sunburn, especially white dogs.

Overheating and burnt paws may be experienced by dogs who are brought out during the warmest part of the day. Keep walks to a minimum of a few minutes to allow for pottying. Avoid concrete, asphalt or sand and try to stay in the shaded areas.

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Exercise dogs in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler.

If a dog is showing signs of heat stroke (drooling, panting hard, dry or sticky gums, discolored gums, lethargic or disorientated or having seizures), call and get recommendations from a veterinarian immediately.

For pets in a home without air conditioning, a cooling bed will help keep your pet comfortable. Be sure there is access to fresh water and place a fan in front of their favorite place to lay. Wet a washcloth with cool water and place in the freezer. When cold, place on or near your pet to provide extra cooling.

The University of Minnesota has tips for helping horses stay cool in hot weather. First, they need to have access to shade if outdoors and airflow created by fans if indoors. They also must have free access to clean water.

Avoid riding a horse when the combined air temperature and relative humidity is over 150 degrees, especially if the horse is not acclimated to the heat.

An overheated horse may be cooled by being sponged or sprayed with cool water.

Contact a veterinarian right away if you suspect a horse is having a heat stroke.

Hot cars are dangerous

According to the American Automobile Association, a car can heat up by 20 degrees in 10 minutes on hot days. That means on a 95-degree day temperatures inside a car can quickly increase to 180 degrees.

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The auto club says children and pets can succumb to the heat inside of a car on a hot day, even with the window cracked open or the AC is running.

The majority of children that have died in vehicles were there because adults responsible for caring for that child forgot they were in the car. Placing a cell phone or purse in the back seat next to the child is one tip.

It is also important that vehicles near the home are locked so children don’t get inside where they might not be able to get out.

Anyone who sees a child or a pet inside a car on a hot day should call 911 immediately.

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Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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