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Here's how to stay safe and keep cool during this week's heatwave

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If you haven't seen it yet you should know that the National Weather Service has predicted a week of searing temperatures, with the heat index (the temperature the body feels when the effects of heat and humidity are combined) dancing around 110 degrees.

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BringMeTheNews has already written about how to keep your pets alive, but what about people? Follow these tips from The Red Cross to stay safe.

How to stay safe

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol,
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

Where to go

You're advised to stay in air conditioned areas, but if you don't have access to air conditioning there are locations across the state that are open for cooling.

The Salvation Army posted a list of eight "cooling centers" here.

Hennepin County Public Health has an interactive map for those who don't have air conditioning at home or work that helps them find "cooling centers" in the county to escape the summer heat.

You can find this map here.

What to do if it gets bad

Heat Cramps

  • Heat cramps are painful, brief muscle cramps and can occur during exercise or work in a hot environment or begin a few hours later, according to WebMD. Here's what you should do.
  • Treatment: Rest in a cool place and drink a sports drink, which has electrolytes and salt, or drink cool water. You can also make your own salt solution by mixing 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon table salt dissolved in a quart of water.

Heat exhaustion

  • Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition than heat cramps. Signs include cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin; headache; nausea; dizziness; weakness; and exhaustion, according to The Red Cross.
  • Treatment: Move the person to a cooler environment with circulating air. Remove or loosen as much clothing as possible and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fanning or spraying the person with water also can help. If the person is conscious, give small amounts of a cool fluid such as a commercial sports drink or fruit juice to restore fluids and electrolytes. Milk or water may also be given. Give about 4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes, according to The Red Cross. If their condition does not improve, call 911.

Heat stroke

  • Heat stroke is life threatening and develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs are extremely high body temperature, red skin which may be dry or moist, changes in consciousness, rapid, weak pulse, rapid, shallow breathing, confusion, vomiting and seizures, according to The Red Cross.
  • Treatment: Call 911, and rapidly cool the body down as much as you can.

It could be worse

In the summer of 1934, a deadly heat wave hit Minnesota for two weeks, as recorded by the Pioneer Press. Temperatures reached as high as 106 with an unofficial reading of 117. By the end, about 900 died across the state, 240 in St. Paul alone.

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