The Heat Is On: How County Residents Can Keep Their Cool


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

June 17, 2004

 

The Heat Is On: How County Residents Can Keep Their Cool

With temperatures in the 90s today and more of the same predicted for tomorrow, Fairfax County residents don’t need to retreat to their homes as the only way to stay cool. Residents also can beat the heat by heading out for one of the county’s many summer programs or facilities — from going to the county’s darkroom for a photography class to reading “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” in an air conditioned library branch.

Heat takes the greatest toll on the very young and the very old, especially children under age five and senior citizens over age 65. Intense summer temperatures also greatly affect people who are already sick or take certain medications, including diuretics, antihistamines, beta-blockers, tranquilizers and anticholinergics.

To keep cool, follow this general advice:

• Drink plenty of fluids.
• Do not drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages because they dehydrate the body.
• Stay indoors as much as possible. Spend time in an air conditioned place if possible; resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses.
• Slow down. Avoid strenuous physical activities or reschedule them for the coolest part of the day, usually the early morning.
• Eat light meals, avoiding high-protein foods because they increase metabolic heat.
• Don’t take salt tablets unless directed by a doctor.
• Wear light-colored clothing, which helps reflect sunlight.
• Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Sunburn makes it more difficult for your body to cool off.
• Never leave children or pets unattended in a car — not even for a few minutes. Even with the windows slightly open, the temperature in a car on an 85-degree day can soar to 102 degrees in just 10 minutes.

In addition to following these common sense tips, consider taking advantage of the county’s many summer programs and services.

The Fairfax Area Agency on Aging is giving away free fans to income-eligible senior citizens without air conditioning. This program runs until Sept. 30, and seniors can apply for a fan by contacting Kim Karlinchak at 703-324-7694, TTY 703-449-1186 or by e-mail at kim.karlinchak@fairfaxcounty.gov.

If a fan doesn’t keep you from breaking a sweat, jump into the refreshing waters at one of the county’s eight indoor pools. The Fairfax County Park Authority offers some of the metropolitan area’s best aquatics facilities. Or, take a class, like darkroom techniques, at one of the Park Authority’s air conditioned recreation centers. To find a pool or RECenter near you, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/recenter.htm, or check www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/classes/index.htm for a class schedule.

And, don’t forget about the Water Mine at Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine is a whole lot of western-themed water fun, perfect for the younger set looking to cool off on the lazy river or careen down the water slides and other water obstacles. For information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/watermine/index.htm.

Mentally transport yourself to a cooler climate entirely by reading bestselling books like “Snow Falling on Cedars” (by David Guterson) or “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” (by Peter Hoag) at one of the county’s 21 air conditioned library branches. Children can check out “Snowed in With Grandmother Silk” (by Carol Fenner) or “Stella, Queen of the Snow” (by Marie-Louise Gay). All summer long, library branches will offer free events for children and adults looking to escape the heat. For more information, call 703-324-3100, TTY 703-324-8365 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library.

For other cool summer activities, pick up the Fairfax County Department of Family Services’ “Guide to Summer Fun and Safety,” an 18-page booklet full of safety tips and fun activities. Inside its pages are important safety tips for children, like don’t put sunscreen on infants younger than six months old. Get a guide at the county’s recreation centers, libraries or through the department. Call 703-324-7400, option “2,” TTY 703-222-9452.


 

FAIRFAX COUNTY IS COMMITTED TO A POLICY OF NONDISCRIMINATION IN ALL COUNTY PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES AND WILL PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UPON REQUEST. TO REQUEST SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS, CALL 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935. PLEASE ALLOW FIVE WORKING DAYS IN ADVANCE OF EVENTS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS

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