Milwaukee Health Department issues heat advisory -- here's how to keep yourself and your pets cool

NOW: Milwaukee Health Department issues heat advisory -- here’s how to keep yourself and your pets cool

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The City of Milwaukee Health Department and Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management in conjunction with the National Weather Service has issued a Heat Health Advisory for Tuesday, June 21 from 12-7 p.m. in southeastern Wisconsin. Experts say keeping you, and your furry friends, cool is extremely important for your and their health.

While it may be tempting to sit out in the sun, dermatologists say if you aren't careful, it can end up hurting you long-term.

"The sun is UV radiation and when that UV radiation hits our skin, some of those wave lengths can go deep enough to effect the DNA," said Dermatology expert Apple Bodemer at UW-Health.

Dermatology expert Apple Bodemer with UW-Health said that can become skin cancer over time which is why staying out of the sun, or covering up with cloths that block UV radiation, is the best way to stay safe.

If you need to be in the sun, high SPF sunscreen is the way to go, and you need to use a lot.

"It's a heaping palm full, it's not the tiny little smear that we tend to put on and call it good," said Bodemer explaining how that's how much you'll need to be in line with the amount used when companies test sunscreens.

For our friends who can't wear sunscreen, veterinarian John Hallett and the Hallett Veterinary Hospital in Oconomowoc said providing lots of water and shade is key.

Never leave a dog in a car.

"If they're in an enclosed car that's getting hot, it's also getting humid, and they're not going to cool themselves at all," said Hallett.

He said dogs sweat through the pads of their feet and by panting, which is why making sure your dog doesn't walk on hot asphalt is important, as their paws can even blister and peel off.

"That's very very painful to walk on," said Hallet.

He said you don't want to cover their feet either.

For both cats and dogs, if it looks like they're hot, Hallett said there's some easy things you can do to help them cool down.

"Using cool water on their foot pads can be helpful, maybe a cool wash cloth on the back of their neck or their arm pits can also be good," said Hallet.

To prevent heat-related illness or death, the Milwaukee Health Department advises citizens to take the following precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Stay Cool

  • Slow down. Limit physical activity, and try to spend part of your day in air-conditioned spaces such as shopping malls, movie theaters, or libraries.
  • Never leave children or pets in a parked car. Temperatures can become life-threatening within minutes.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool baths or showers and use wet towels on your skin to help you cool down.
  • Do not rely on fans as a primary cooling device.
  • Check in on those most-at-risk twice a day.

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, regardless of thirst.
  • Avoid consuming caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, as these can increase heat effects.
  • Remind others to drink enough water.

Stay Informed

  • Check local news and weather reports for extreme heat alerts and safety tips.
  • Be aware of symptoms of heat-related illness
  • Heat exhaustion symptoms include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, or fainting
  • Heat stroke symptoms include: extremely high body temperature, hot and dry skin (no sweating), rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or unconsciousness
  • Check on relatives, friends, or neighbors, especially those most susceptible to heat-related illness, which includes the very young, the elderly, and those on certain medications (especially certain medications related to blood pressure, heart disease, and mental health).

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