INDIANAPOLIS – Excessive Heat Warnings have been issued for several states over the last few days due to high temperatures and even higher heat index values. Why is excessive heat so dangerous, though?

Heat becomes dangerous when it lingers for several days in a row. Our bodies do not have time to cool down overnight.

Why do we sweat?

Sweating is a way for our bodies to cool down. The water from the sweat evaporates which draws heat out of the body through a process called evaporative cooling. When humidity levels are high, the sweat we produce cannot evaporate, causing the cooling process to slow down.

What can you do to stay safe during excessive heat?

  • Check on your friends, family, and those vulnerable to heat illnesses
  • Know the signs of heat-related illnesses in both people and pets
  • Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing if you can
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stay inside with the blinds closed if you can
  • Look before you lock, hot cars can be dangerous to both people and pets
  • Plan your activities during the cooler parts of the day

Don’t forget about your pets!

Here are some ideas of what to do with a pet during a hot day:

  • Exercise in the early AM or PM when the temperatures are cooler
  • Use fans to circulate air if you don’t have air conditioning
  • If outside, make sure your pet has a shaded area to relax
  • Provide your dog with a kiddie pool to help them cool off
  • Make sure your pet has multiple water bowls in case one gets knocked over
  • For cats, provide access to cool spots around the house such as tile floors, tubs, and shaded rooms
  • Put cages under shade cloth to drop the temperature while still allowing cool air to circulate
  • Spray small animals with water using the fine mist setting
  • Keep your pet inside