Extreme heat concerns officials

With summer temperatures rising above 100 degrees, staying cool isn’t always an easy thing to do. Even with working air conditioning, many systems run non-stop to cool houses and businesses. Sometimes, in the most extremes of hot weather, they aren’t enough. City and county officials are offering solutions to stay cool.

If your home or car isn’t cool enough to stay comfortable, there are places to go to cool off. The Knox County Courthouse is open to the public during the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Mayor David Thompson said that the city “Would try to first work with a local church, but if needed (city hall would be opened).” City Hall is open in Barbourville from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., also Monday through Friday.

“Extreme heat and extreme cold are not things people think about as long as theirs is working,” said Thompson.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office offers suggestions for beating the heat:

Stay indoors as much as possible

Stay on the lowest floor of your home if air conditioning is unavailable

Wear light-colored, loose clothing

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water

One very dangerous aspect of high temperatures is the risk of heat stroke, which can affect anyone, as well as pets. According to WebMD, a major warning sign of heat stroke could be when the body’s core temperature reaches 104 degrees. The medical site lists the following symptons as well:

Throbbing headache

Dizziness and light-headedness

Lack of sweating despite the heat

Red, hot, and dry skin

Muscle weakness or cramps

Nausea and vomiting

Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak

Rapid, shallow breathing

Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering

Seizures

Unconsciousness and fainting.

If someone is suspected of suffering from heat stroke, it’s important that medical treatment be sought immediately, either by calling 9-1-1 or taking them to the hospital. If possible, the use of tubs filled with cool water, ice packs to the neck, groin, armpits and back, and fans blowing cooler air can be useful in bringing the body temperature into safer ranges. Treatment for heat stroke could depend on the person’s age. Children, elderly and people suffering from chronic illnesses should not be treated with ice packs. In any case of heat stroke, it’s best to seek out medical treatment.

“It’s important for family and neighbors to check on the elderly who may be home-bound or have medical conditions during excessive heat waves,” said Sheriff Mike Smith.

The temperature inside a car could rise as much as 60 degrees in the course of an hour, meaning that a car in only 80 degrees could get as hot as 140 degrees in the sun with no open windows.

Sheriff Smith encourages people to be mindful of hot vehicles. “Young children and pets should not be left unattended in vehicles especially in warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures,” he said.

One way to cool off this summer would be to take advantage of the city’s water park and the newly-reopened splash pad located at Thompson Park on South Highway 11.

For heat-related and other emergencies, dial 9-1-1 and seek medical help immediately.