Extreme Heat

Coping with Extremely Hot Weather

The longer the weather stays hot, the more our bodies need a break in a cool place. Cooling centers are air-conditioned locations such as senior centers and community centers where people can go to get out of the heat for a few hours on hot days. See list of cooling centers (call first as not all are open throughout the summer) and heat-safety tips below. During heat waves and heat wave emergencies, stay in a cool indoor location, do not leave pets or children in a car, and drink plenty of water. 

In need of a place to cool off? Locations available to residents include: 
  1. Pool, beach, lake or other water source  (Listings here: http://pk.ingham.org/ and http://www.lansingmi.gov/parks)
  2. Friends’ or family members’ residence
  3. Visit a public cooling center 
    1. City of Lansing cooling centers
    2. Michigan 2-1-1 cooling centers resource list

Pets and Heat
Call Capital Area Humane Society at 517-626-6060.

Staying Cool on a Budget
In our 2011 survey of 1,731 Ingham County residents about hot weather impacts, 73% report "increasing utility bills" as a top impact of the increasing number of extremely hot days. Check out this resource to keep your bills down: www.lbwl.com/energysavers

Most respondents to the 2011 survey did not report availability of a 3-day supply of water, 3-day supply of medications, radio, land line phone, or back-up power generator. These items, as well as flashlights, are recommended supplies. Build a kit!

Some Medications Can Increase Your Risk of Heat-Illness
From the Mayo Clinic: "Be especially careful in hot weather if you take medications that narrow your blood vessels (vasoconstrictors), regulate your blood pressure by blocking adrenaline (beta blockers), rid your body of sodium and water (diuretics), or reduce psychiatric symptoms (antidepressants or antipsychotics). Stimulants for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and illegal stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine also make you more vulnerable to heatstroke." Guidance from WebMD 

Protect Your Skin
Consider information from Environmental Working Group about the safest sunscreens for you and your family.

Know, Visit and Help Your Neighbors
"Resilience is about Relationships, Not Just Infrastructure": Lessons from the Chicago heat-wave of 1995 show that community cohesion, frequent social contact and neighborhood infrastructure are protective factors for heat-emergencies, regardless of income. Identify neighbors who don’t have air-conditioning, have difficulty getting around and/or have chronic health conditions. Check on neighbors who may have trouble with heat daily during a heat wave. Encourage visiting a cooling center and arrange rides if needed.

Watch for signs of Heat-Related Illness:
  • Heat cramps: Muscle pain and spasms.
  • Heat exhaustion: Cool, moist, pale or flushed skin. Heavy sweating. Headache. Nausea or vomiting. Move to cool place, drink a glass of cool water every 15 minutes, monitor for worsening symptoms.
  • Heat stroke: Hot, red skin. Feeling faint or disoriented. Rapid, weak pulse. Shallow breathing. Dry skin. High body temperature. Heat Stroke is life threatening, call 9-1-1!

Transportation for anyone who cannot use CATA’s regular fixed route buses can be arranged by calling 2-1-1. Free rides are available for those with a physical and financial need.

Heat-Safety Tips

  • Go to a cooling center or other air-conditioned location for several hours each day.
  • Slow down. Avoid heavy activity.
  • Stay indoors on the lowest floor.
  • Wear light-weight, light-colored clothing.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks.
  • Eat small meals and more often.
  • Avoid salt tablets unless directed by physician.