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Be smart, stay cool this summer

In case you haven’t stepped outdoors recently, it’s hot (though rain this week has brought some relief). Though summer officially doesn’t start until later this month, it is safe to say the hot season has arrived.

In Mississippi, most of are accustomed to sweating when we walk from our front doors to our cars each morning. And we know the steering wheel will be too hot to touch when we get back in our cars at the end of a work day.

Most of us know to stay out of the sun if we can and to drink plenty of fluids. But we sometimes forget to check on our elderly neighbors to make sure they are keeping cool. Or we forget to make sure Fido has plenty of shade.

Below are a few tips on beating Mississippi’s heat. Most of them are obvious, but hopefully reading through them will prompt you to make sure everyone you know, including pets, has a way to cool off.

• Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, visit somewhere that does, such as a family member’s home, the Lincoln County Public Library or the Furlow Senior Citizen Center on South First Street in Brookhaven.

• Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source when it’s really hot outside.

• Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If your doctor limits the amount of fluids you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink during hot weather.

• Don’t use the stove or oven to cook — it will make you and your house hotter.

• Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

• Take cool showers or baths to cool down.

• Do not engage in very strenuous activities and get plenty of rest.

• Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

• For animals, make sure they have shade and water.