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DHE urges precautions during extreme heat; libraries available as cooling centers

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, in cooperation with the Johnson County Library, encourages residents to take precautions during this week’s extreme heat. Those who need a place to cool down may visit one of Johnson County’s 13 library branches during normal business hours.

“It’s easy to underestimate the effects of extreme heat and assume we can handle it, but the temperatures we are expecting to see this week are dangerous for everyone,” said Lougene Marsh, director of Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “We encourage residents to be very careful during this time of excessive temperatures and heat indices.”

JCDHE 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.
  • Avoid leaving children and/or pets alone inside vehicles even for a few minutes since the temperature inside vehicles can rise rapidly once the air conditioning is off.
  • 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.
  • 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.

For residents needing a cool location, check library hours which vary by location. Call 913-826-4600 for hours of operation for your nearest library branch, or visit the website at jocolibrary.org/locations.