Hot time in the city

Published 9:55 am Thursday, June 25, 2009

Niles Daily Star

Temperatures shot up this week along with the humidity, making it hot and muggy outside and calling on air conditioners throughout Michiana.
On Wednesday, the National Weather Service issued a statement for Berrien County warning that temperatures could reach up into the mid to upper 90s combining with high dew points, making it feel closer to 100 degrees. Citizens were warned to take breaks and drink plenty of fluids if they must be outdoors.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was forced to extend an Air Quality Action Day to Berrien County after officials deemed ozone levels were reaching readings dangerous for some people.
The Berrien County Health Department has some summer sun safety tips for those who want to stay safe while out in the warmer weather. They include:
• Avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – the worst time to be outside said to be at noon.
• Stay in the shade as much as possible, especially during the middle of the afternoon.
• Wear sunscreen. Make sure that sunscreen is at least SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15.
• Stay away from sunlamps and tanning beds which can give off dangerous UV rays as well.
• Wear protective clothing such as loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants. Light colors are better because they reflect the sun’s rays back to the sky and help keep cool.
• Wear hats that protect the face and make sure it has a wide brim.
• Wear sunglasses with dark and large lenses which protect more of the eye. Look for sunglasses with a label that says the glasses block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays.
Around Niles there are plenty of ways to keep cool.
The Niles Buchanan YMCA allows members and nonmembers to take advantage of the facility’s swimming pool.
Nonmembers can pay a daily guest fee to use pool during open swim times. Persons age 19 and younger can be a guest for $5, $10 for adults and $15 for families. Open swim times for this week are 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday and again at 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, adult open swim is available from 11:15 a.m. to noon and for all ages from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a chance of thunderstorms into the evening on Thursday, but for the weekend, as the temperatures cool, grabbing a patch of shade in any one of the city’s parks might also provide a little relief without having to stay indoors.
The Michigan Department of Community Health also issued a reminder this week about the importance of staying safe in the sun’s rays.
According to that state department, “overexposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can lead to serious health effects, including skin cancer. Youth are particularly at risk of overexposure as 80 percent of the average person’s lifetime UV exposure occurs before a person hits the age of 18…
“More than one million cases of skin cancer are reported annually, making skin cancer the most common from of cancer in the United States.
“Skin cancer however, is not the only negative effect overexposure to the sun can have as a person can suffer from heat exhaustion, sunburn and wrinkles if they do not protect themselves.”
As summer sets in around Michiana – the consensus remains: soak up the sun but stay safe.