Heat Brings Danger for People and Pets

By KBJR News 1

July 18, 2011 Updated Jul 18, 2011 at 6:54 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The humidity what makes it feel like we're in that 100 degree range and experts caution that heat that high can be dangerous not only for humans, but animals at well.

Water, shade, or jumping in the lake.

In this heat...you do whatever you can to just cool off.

"We're just running the air and everything seems to be working fine. Just staying in the lake or staying in the shade," said Mike Canon, who is camping at Shell Lake.

From the northern Minnesota to Wisconsin, the heat is being felt by all and experts are cautioning those outside to be wary of the heat.

"There is kind of a spectrum of heat related illness. They can start out as muscle cramps that usually affect your arms and legs and progresses on to heat stroke which is the most dangerous," said Cynthia Haensel, an emergency physician at St Luke's Hospital in Duluth.

It doesn't take long for people to fall victim to the heat and certain groups like young children and the elderly can feel the impact more than others.

"They tend to be the ones that are the more dehydrated. They don't get enough fluids and they get warmer and their body cannot control and adjust as easily," said Christine Brown, a registered nurse at Essentia Health St Mary's Medical Center.

Another group that can be put in danger in high heat and humidity can't speak for themselves.

"We make sure that they have plenty of water at all times because they go through it a little bit faster," said Dr. Mary Wictor with Animal Allies

Dr. Wictor says it's important to remember pets in this heat and don't leave them in cars.

"It's virtually lethal for them. Unless your windows are all the way down and you have air blowing...I wouldn't leave your animal in your car for even a couple minutes at a time. It's a greenhouse in a car," said Dr. Wictor

Panting is the main way animals are able to sweat and over heating can sometimes only take minutes.

Dr. Wictor says it's important to monitor pets when they are in the heat.

"Making sure they have access to shade at all times so they are not in the sun, making sure they have cool water with them at all times...those are biggest ones," said Dr. Wictor.

Dr. Wictor says running cool water over the pet, not submerging them, but just running it over them with hose...is another way to keep pets cool in the heat.

People should also be on the look out for signs of dehydration in order to stay safe.

Signs of dehydration can range anywhere from feeling thirsty, to cramping, or even just feeling too hot.