Iowa gets an early taste of summer toward the end of this week, with temperatures expected to climb into the mid-90’s. Health officials, animal welfare advocates, and the National Weather Service are issuing warnings in advance of the hot temperatures.
The Iowa Department of Public Health says about 500 Iowans are hospitalized each year with heat-related illnesses.
“Every summer, we experience periods where it is incredibly hot and incredibly humid at the same time and there might be little to no overnight cooling during that time,” says Nola Aigner with the Polk County Health Department.
Experts say children and animals should never be left in cars during hot days, even if a window is cracked open. When temperatures hit 90 degrees, the inside of a car reach 160 within minutes. Nationally, 24 children died last year of heat exhaustion when left behind in vehicles. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa receives five calls a day during the summer alerting it to pets locked in cars.
Aigner says people need an annual reminder to take precautions.
“That means drinking more water, spending less time outdoors, drinking beverages that are non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic, and just really taking care of yourself and taking care of people around you.”