Keeping your cool - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Keeping your cool

June 23, 2006

Albany - - The heat is on. This week, we experienced a record breaking temperature of 102 degrees. Many people just turn on their air conditioners and stay inside during the heat, but there are others who have no AC.

After 22 years living in his west Albany home, many things have changed - - except for the summer heat."I drink a lot of fluids and try to dress in clothing that will be cool and if all else fails, I move to a cooler location," says Samuel Zeigler.

That's usually outside. Zeigler has no air conditioner and sometimes sitting inside can be just as devastating. "When the sun goes down, its made out of brick, so the heat from the brick radiates inside. So if today's temperature is 100º, at night it will feel like 85º inside of this house."

So he opens the windows, keeps the door cracked, and makes sure his favorite water cooler is always nearby. "Get me some ice, fill it up with water and during the day I sip on it all through the day, keep the fluids in me, keep me from dehydrating."

Health experts say Zeigler is doing the right thing. "Basic simple things. Drink lots of fluids, water, fruit juices, sports drinks to replace the minerals that are lost during sweating or perspiration," says Sue Ewings with the Dougherty County Health Department.

She says during these summer months, the sun doesn't discriminate. "Four and under whose heat regulating mechanisms is not quite mature and those elderly persons whose mechanisms have had a lot of wear and tear, also those persons who are obese, those who are ill, who have medical or health conditions, be mindful of those or just monitor those."

Zeigler monitors himself. He has to. Not just for his health, but also for peace of mind. So he braces the heat by reading his paper and patiently waiting for the sunset. "I have a couple of conditions: high blood pressure, asthma and diabetic so the heat's not that good on me."

This is also the time of year when there's an increase in heat strokes. Warning signs are nausea, a high body temperature, dizziness and a throbbing headache. If you see that, Ewing says call 911.

While you're waiting on E.M.S. to arrive, make sure you take the victim to a shaded area or a cool place to avoid any more heat exposure.

Health department workers say if you're working outside, take frequent breaks. If you have outside activities, plan them in the early morning or late evening and don't leave your children or pets in cars.

Record heat means high electricity use. Albany Water Gas and Light reports 3,580 megawatt hours of power consumed Thursday as the temperature reached 102º. That's 375 megawatt hours more than the same day last year.

Even though usage was up 12 per cent from the year before, a spokesperson for Water gas and light says the Albany utility had no trouble meeting the demand.

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