City of Lincoln provides options for residents to stay cool during excessive heat warning

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The City of Lincoln is warning Lincoln residents of extreme heat.

The National Weather Service has extended an excessive heat warning for Lincoln to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 20. An excessive heat warning means that a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures (heat index of 105 degrees or above) will create life-threatening conditions. Temperatures are predicted to be in the 90s each day, and heat index values may reach 111 degrees.

The heat and high humidity create a dangerous situation that can cause heat illnesses. The heat index is a more accurate measure of how hot it really feels when the humidity is added to the actual air temperature.

A press release from the mayor's office said heat and humidity creates a dangerous situation and causes heat illnesses.

To help keep Lincoln citizens safe, the city announced several options for those who may not have regular access to air conditioners.

- The Belmont Recreation Center- 1234 Judson St. will remain open until 8:00 p.,m. during the heat watch
- Lincoln City Library branches are open until 8:00 p.m. as well. Find a link to those locations here.
- Those without air conditioning can also cool off during regular hours at senior centers and other recreation centers as well as public locations like theaters and shopping malls
- Parks and Recreation offers family swim nights at neighborhood pools form 6:00- 8:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday for $9 a family. Learn more about that here.
- Aging Partners has a limited number of fans for distribution on a first-come-first-serve basis for adults 60 and older. No financial screening is needed. For more information call the Handy Man program at 402-441-7030. To donate a fan to the program visit 233 S. 10th St.

Children are at the highest risk for high temperatures because they adjust more slowly to the heat, have thinner skin, produce more heat with activity, sweat less and are less likely to rest or get a drink when they're active. Others at risk include the elderly, those with chronic diseases, those who are overweight and those taking certain medications or alcohol.

Heat related illnesses include sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The most severe forms may require immediate medical attention.

Heat illnesses occur when sweating isn't enough to cool the body, causing a person's body temperature to rise rapidly. Symptoms include: clammy, sweaty skin; light-headedness, weakness and nausea.

Hot weather precautions include the following:

- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids, especially during physical activity.
- Avoid heavy meals and hot foods, which add heat to your body.
- Monitor infants for fluid intake, and dress them in cool, loose-fitting clothing.
- Check on relatives, neighbors and friends who may be at risk.
- Never leave children or pets in parked cars. Even with the windows open, temperatures can reach 130 degrees in only a few minutes. Place your cell phone, purse or left shoe in the backseat as a reminder that you have a child in the car.
- Make sure pets and livestock that live outdoors have plenty of fresh, cool water and shade. Pets should be brought indoors if possible.

Those who do need to be outside are advised to wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, sunglasses, sunscreen (SPF of 30 or more) and a hat.

Plan activities to avoid being outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Rest frequently in shaded areas and stay hydrated. Stop activity and get into a cool area if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint. Extreme heat can be a concern to healthy people as well, including children participating in outdoor activities such as summer camps, athletic events and practices.

More information on protecting pets, including the video “Too Hot for Spot,” is available by visiting lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: Animal Control). Animal Control can be reached at 402-441-7900.