Heat and people and pets; tips for keeping your whole family safe in high temps

Excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events.

▪ Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle – not even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.

▪ 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.

▪ If someone doesn’t have air conditioning, they should seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.

▪ 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 working outdoors.

▪ Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have shade and plenty of cool water.

Don’t forget your pets.

▪ Animals can suffer heat stroke, a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Some of the signs that you pet may be experiencing heat stroke include:

• Heavy panting and unable to calm down, even when lying down

• Brick red gum color

• Fast pulse rate

• The inability to get up

▪ If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally.

• If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees.

• Bring your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.

Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid App and take our online course.

▪ The American Red Cross Pet First Aid App provides dog and cat owners with resources on how to maintain their pet’s health and well-being and what to do during emergencies until veterinary care is available. You can locate pet-friendly hotels and find emergency pet care facilities or alternate veterinarians in case you are out of town or need to evacuate. The app is available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.

▪ Our Cat and Dog First Aid online course helps you determine if your pet is experiencing a life-threatening emergency and provides expert tips on what to do. Course modules include preventive care and First Aid as well as step-by-step instructions—with visual aids—to help pets who are choking, bleeding, having a seizure or need CPR. The course is available at redcross.org.

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