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Heat alert: Slow down, stay hydrated and spend time indoors

Karen Fisher of Orwell in southern Ashtabula County, right, enjoys the Fellows Riverside Gardens fountain on Monday afternoon while her son, Tobias Popik, far left, plays in the water with his girlfriend, Gabriella Jones of Rome, also in Ashtabula County. The temperature in Youngstown on Monday afternoon reached the low 90s before a hard rain fell about 3 p.m., dropping the temperature by about 10 degrees.

The American Red Cross wants Mahoning Valley residents to stay safe during this week’s extreme heat.

With daily high temperatures expected to be in the 90s all week, Jim McIntyre, regional communications director with the Red Cross, said “the American Red Cross recommends taking three steps to stay safe in extreme heat — slow down, stay hydrated and spend time indoors.”

To “slow down,” Red Cross officials suggest avoiding or postponing outdoor activities.

“If you must work outdoors, take frequent breaks and avoid the hottest part of the day. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle alone,” McIntyre said in an email.

The Red Cross recommends staying hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding sugar-filled caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.

McIntyre also said for those who do not have air conditioning in their homes, they could go to a public library, shopping mall or cooling center. Newton Falls and Lordstown village officials announced Monday they will open their administration buildings as cooling centers.

McIntyre also warned of the effect the heat wave could have on a person’s health.

“During hot weather, people might become ill from heat-related conditions and it’s critical to act fast,” he said. “Heat illness can be prevented, and the Red Cross recommends learning the warning signs and how to help so you can react quickly.”

Older adults, the very young, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions are more at risk to suffer from heat-related illnesses.

Of such illnesses to watch for, the Red Cross highlighted heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

McIntyre also said that pet owners must take action to keep their animals safe from the heat.

Healthy Hearts and Paws President Jason Cooke said dog owners should try to limit the time their dog is outdoors.

“What we’re doing here at the shelter is we’re taking them out super early in the morning and then later in the evening trying to avoid those daytime temps that are well above 90 degrees,” Cooke said.

He said the dogs at Healthy Hearts and Paws are not being walked on pavement but rather under tree cover and other shaded areas.

He encouraged pet owners to learn the signs their animals may show of heat stroke and consult with their veterinarian for further information.

Cooke also said Mahoning Valley residents should never leave pets unattended in a vehicle, especially during such a heat wave.

“These vehicles heat up extremely quickly; it can be very dangerous,” Cooke said.

“Don’t leave your dogs in the car, even if the car is running, because vehicles shut off. If you’re relying on your car to continue to run and provide air conditioning for your pets to keep them safe, that could end in disaster.”

Cooke said while the shelter does not advocate for pets to live outside, if one is, those owners should provide access to shade, shelter and fresh cold water at all times.

Have an interesting story? Contact Mason Cole by email at mcole@tribtoday.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @masoncoletrib.

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