Water is vital when dealing with extreme heat, humidity

WAUKESHA — Temperatures in the 90s and heat indices in the 100s on Thursday, June 28th prompted the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory for all of southeastern Wisconsin. Some health officials warn that when it gets hot, it’s often not the high temperatures, but rather, the humidity that can lead to heat-related illnesses.

When dealing with extreme heat, health officials encourage hydration, shade and rest, and encourage people to spend as much time as they can in a cool place.

Health officials say when combined with high temperatures, high humidity levels can make an individual’s body unable to naturally cope with the heat.

“Your body is not able to get rid of heat in a standard fashion. When you sweat, it doesn’t evaporate that fast, so you don’t get the cooling effect,” Brookfield Fire Department Deputy Chief David Mason said.

Only two things can make up for the loss — cooler temperatures (air-conditioning) or taking a plunge to cool off.

“Water is a good conductivity of heat. It’s great at pulling heat out of bodies,” Mason said.

Whether cooling off at Fox Brook Beach in Brookfield or Nagawaukee Park in Hartland, the key to beating the heat is a large body of water.

Patricia Przanowski said Thursday she remembers her childhood years when air conditioning wasn’t readily available. She said she knows from experience the beach is the best place to be on the hottest summer days.

“It really keeps the body cool and keeps you happier,” Przanowski said.

Mason said beaches can be dangerous, and said sunbathers can be the most at risk when the humidity’s at its highest, mentioning it’s important to take a break by taking a dip.

“If somebody was just laying on the beach as we were talking, not jumping into the water, just in the sunlight, that could be problematic,” Mason said.

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