People turn to shaved ice, splash pads to keep cool in Butler County

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People turn to shaved ice, splash pads to keep cool in Butler County

As temperatures rise, so does the business at local ice cream stands.

“The heat drives them in,” said Keith Wren, owner of The Cone in West Chester. “Our store and trucks are very busy selling a lot of shaved ice and slushies.”

Wren said sales go up for the shaved ice when it gets really hot, but after the sun begins to go down, people still come out for cones, sundaes and banana boats.

Brian Connaughton, owner of Flub’s in Hamilton, Fairfield and Ross, has a theory about heat and ice cream sales.

“When it’s 85 degrees and beautiful outside, that’s when business is the busiest,” he said. “When it’s 89 degrees or higher, people will stay in until after 7 p.m. before they come out.”

He said the stores sell a lot of slushies, cones and floats, and for the past seven years, Flub’s has been selling shaved ice.

“We sell quite a bit of it, especially on hot days,” Connaughton said.

However, the Cyclone remains the biggest seller at all three locations.

On Sunday afternoon, one place where a lot of children were cooling off was at the Smith Park splash pad in Middletown.

“We come out here when it gets too hot because there is no access to a swimming pool,” said Shelly Thompson, a mother of four children. “It’s a good way to cool off on a hot day and it’s a good way for the kids to interact with other kids in the community.”

With temperatures expected to be close to 90 most of the week, keeping cool will be a priority for many people.

The Centers for Disease Control said staying cool and making simple changes in your fluid intake, activities and clothing during hot weather can help you remain safe and healthy.

The CDC said extreme heat — or a heat wave — occurs when the temperature reaches extremely high levels or when the combination of heat and humidity causes the air to become oppressive. Older adults, children, outside workers and people with disabilities are prone to heat stress, and extreme heat affects more males than females, according to the CDC.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, between 1979 and 2014, the death rate as a result of exposure to heat generally hovered around 0.5 to 1 deaths per million people, with spikes in certain years. Overall, more than 9,000 Americans have died from heat-related causes since 1979, based on death certificates, according to the EPA.

According to the CDC, people suffer heat-related illness when their bodies are unable to compensate and properly cool themselves. The body normally cools itself by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating just isn’t enough and a person’s body temperature quickly increases. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other vital organs, according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends at-risk people should stay in air conditioning to protect themselves from illnesses related to extreme heat. Those who do not have air conditioning in their homes should spend time in places with air conditioning such as a shopping mall, a library or other public buildings.

Tips for preventing heat-related illnesses

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages and increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level.
  • Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Check with your doctor about how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
  • Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
  • Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave anyone or animals in a closed, parked vehicle.
  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher that are labeled “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection.”

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control

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