Local News

Today It's Cool to Be Indoors

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RALEIGH — When it's already 81 degrees when you walkout to retrieve the paper at 6 a.m., and you know the the mercury is headed for 96, heading to work in an air-conditionedspot this Monday seems like a great idea to lots of people.

Our current run of oppressively hot, humid weather has made cool couchpotatoes of us all. It's simply not the wisest time for strenuous outdooractivities. The best thing to do is stay indoors, with air conditioningor fans going.

Do check on elderly neighbors or relatives. Sometimes they are unawareof how very hot their homes are, and it's wise to see that they are allright.

Children and pets should not be left in cars even when days are coolerthan today, but today certainly they should be left home if you have anyerrands to run. Be sure to check on outdoor pets -- their water dish mayneed to be filled, and they need a place in the shade if you are unwillingor unable to bring them indoors. If you walk your dog, try to do so ongrass or dirt -- asphalt roadways can get so hot it can burn your dog'spaws.

To reduce the heat coming into your home, close the draperies or blindson the sunny side of the house. Run your ceiling fans, if you have them. If your car is parked in the sun, you might want to lower the windows somefor cross-ventilation. Windshields exposed to searing sun have been knownto pop.

If the children have to vent some energy after sitting in classroomstoday, let them play in the garage, carport or basement. Better still,accompany them to the mall or to a library. They get to walk around andsee something different, but they are in air conditioning.

When temperatures are high, traffic accidents can be dangerous whetheryour car is directly involved or not. A serious wreck in Durham lastweek involved 10 vehicles and traffic was blocked in both directions ofthe interstate for hours -- and temperatures were in the high 90s.Motorists would be wise to toss a plastic bottle of water into the car,even when they drive around town. You never know when a severe accidentor a breakdown will ground you for an hour or two. Water and awide-brimmed hat can help you get through the experience in good shape.

Be sure to drink plenty of water. Coffee and caffeine sodas don'tcount; they encourage your body to lose more water -- and the goal in thisheat is to retain as much water as possible.

If you do have to be outdoors for any length of time, apply sunscreenand wear a hat.

We often say that come winter, we'll remember the hot days of summerand wish they were back. But when the heat is this high, no one reallywants a repeat performance. We just need to keep a cool head -- literally-- and get through it.

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