AMES, Iowa – “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” or so the expression goes.
In Iowa, in August, it’s both.
With temperatures staying in the 90s for Saturday’s sellout home opener against UNI, Cyclone fans and visitors are encouraged to take precautions to prevent heat-related illness.
Michelle Hendricks, director of Iowa State’s Thielen Student Health Center, says it’s easy to underestimate the toll extreme heat and humidity can take on the human body. There are basic, yet important, things people can do to care for themselves while tailgating and enjoying the game, she adds.
“Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, light, loose-fitting clothing; and a hat,” Hendricks says. “And drink plenty of water. This is your best line of defense against heat exhaustion or heat stroke. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Pop, juice and sports drinks are okay, but there’s nothing that hydrates better than pure water.”
Hendricks also advises:
- If you feel overheated, apply cold packs to your neck and under your arms.
- Slow down and avoid strenuous activity. Rest in the shade or under a tent or umbrella.
- Eat small, light meals, and go easy on high-protein foods, which can increase metabolic heat.
- Learn to recognize signs of heat-related illness: muscle cramps, flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness and exhaustion. Body temperature may be normal.
- Learn to recognize signals of heat stroke: hot, red, dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; high body temperature.
- Check regularly on those who are at greater risk for heat-related illness – infants and children, the elderly, those with high blood pressure or heart disease, and those who have consumed too much alcohol.
Iowa State’s Athletics Department has ordered 26,000 bottles of water for purchase at Saturday’s game. Fans also will be allowed to bring unopened bottles of water or empty, reusable beverage containers – which can be filled at drinking fountains on both concourses at Jack Trice Stadium – through entrance gates.
ISU Police will have golf carts stocked with cold packs and bottled water for people in need of immediate cooling and fluids, as well as tents placed near grass lot entrances for those who require medical assistance. Mary Greeley Medical Center has been asked to provide additional paramedics to respond to heat-related issues. Two ISU Police officers also are EMTs, and all officers are medical first responders.