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Keeping cool during hot spell

by Christina Nelson

Even the ducks are searching for a shady place to cool their tail feathers this week and Until the weather cools down a bit, Carson Valley residents are doing whatever it takes to avoid the heat.

A handful of adventurers swam, fished and rowed boats down the Carson River on Monday as temperatures broke the 100-degree mark.

“It’s closer than Tahoe and Topaz,” said Danielle Uzes, a Gardnerville resident who spent Monday afternoon swimming down the river.

“We just hunker down in the house where it’s cool,” said Louis Fitzhugh of Gardnerville.

Fitzhugh took his 3-year-old grandson, Keaton Fitzhugh, out for a stroll under the shade trees in Lampe Park.

“Every year we say we should get air conditioning, then we don’t,” said Rommy Cronin of Minden.

Cronin’s 1-year-old daughter, Ali, didn’t seem to mind the midday sun as she chased ducks around Lampe. Cronin said that isn’t always the case though and many times the heat does bother her little girl.

“We’ve been going to the lake quite a bit,” Cronin said.

Krista Rosten of Lancaster, Calif., is in Gardnerville to visit family and passed the hot afternoon with a picnic under a tree at Lampe Park with her six-month-old daughter, Tianna.

Rosten said the weather here is beautiful, with the breeze and slightly lower temperatures, compared to her home in California.

“We just stay inside all day and go out at night when the sun goes down,” Rosten said.

Area stores haven’t seen an increase in sales with the heat rising.

“They’re higher than last year but they’re not record breaking,” said Tracy Morris, a supervisor at Rite Aid.

Though the thermostats lining Main Street said temperatures in Gardnerville reached 107 degrees Sunday evening, weather experts say that’s not true. Sunday’s high was actually 101 degrees around 3 p.m.

Often thermometers placed in direct sunlight or near heat-radiating black asphalt give incorrect readings.

“It’s not uncommon to see false temperature readings,” said Steve Ottenson, a National Weather Service specialist. The National Weather Service in Reno reported the high temperature at 95 degrees on Sunday.

Local weather watchers say that figure is a little low. Ted Hendricks, a volunteer observer for the weather service, said depending on where the temperature is observed, there can be a discrepancy.

“By Wednesday we should be cooling down a little bit,” Ottenson said. He said Thursday and Friday should be in the upper 80s to low 90s.

Health care officials say they haven’t been treating more patients than usual this time of year.

“The ER has treated maybe one or two people who have been dehydrated or have had a heat problem,” said Sharon Stockman of the Carson Valley Medical Center.

Minden Emergency-Urgent Care officials said they haven’t treated any heat-related illnesses this summer.

Until temperatures drops, here are tips to stay cool:

– Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages which have a dehydrating effect.

– Dress in lightweight, loose fitting clothing to reflect the sun and keep skin cool.

– Avoid mid-day heat and do not engage in vigorous activity during the hottest part of the day (noon to 4 p.m.).

– Wear a hat or use an umbrella for shade.

– Use an air conditioner or visit air-conditioned places.

– Avoid hot, heavy meals. Do a minimum of cooking and use an oven only when absolutely necessary.

– Cut down your intake of protein and fats, which increase the body’s heat production.

– Eat fruits and vegetables. Eat smaller meals around midday.

– Avoid sudden changes in temperature. Air out a hot car before getting inside.

– Don’t forget pets. Make sure your animals have plenty of water and an area to provide them with ample shade.