Salt Lake County designates ‘cool zones’ as temperatures rise

Jun 9, 2022, 9:26 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 11:11 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Temperatures are on the rise. As we head into the weekend, Salt Lake City is looking at the potential for record-breaking heat. If you’re spending time outside, be prepared.

When a day is going to be excessively hot, it’s important to plan ahead. Make sure you drink plenty of water, have adequate shade, and keep your cool.

“Make sure you are planning your day appropriately so that you’re not out in the middle of the heat,” said Jay Larsen, Intermountain Healthcare’s emergency room nurse manager at LDS Hospital.

He said people who end up in the ER with heat-related illness typically overexerted themselves and did not drink enough.

“You have to be properly hydrated in the summer. That way your body cools off appropriately and you stay hydrated,” he said.

Secondly, seek shade, either indoors, or outside. Wear a hat and light clothes that keep the sun off your skin.

“The third is, basically, watch what you’re doing. Don’t overexert yourself. Out planting the garden at three o’clock in the afternoon is not a wise choice,” Larsen said.

Sunscreen makes a difference, too.

“Sunburn prevents your body from regulating very well,” the nurse manager said. “So, we want to try to prevent that. Sunscreen goes hand-in-hand with water.”

For vulnerable people, Salt Lake County offers cool zones in public libraries, recreation centers and senior centers.

“For folks who don’t have air-conditioning at home, they can come and cool off, hydrate, and enjoy a little bit of air-conditioning,” said Afton January, Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services communications manager.

Seniors are more susceptible to excessive heat.

“As we start to see hotter and hotter summers, it’s more and more important for folks to find a way to cool down so that they don’t end up succumbing to heat-related illness,” January said. “We haven’t seen a lot of interest in the cool zones just yet. But we do see folks come in every summer as it gets hotter.”

An interactive map on the Salt Lake County Aging Services website helps you find a cool zone.

“The cool zones really play an important role for Salt Lake County in providing a sanctuary against those hot, hot summer days,” she said.

The warning signs of heat-related illness, include dizziness, nausea, rapid heart rate, chest pain and difficulty breathing. Get to a cool place quickly if you have those symptoms, and get medical attention if they continue.

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Salt Lake County designates ‘cool zones’ as temperatures rise