Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can occur when the body's temperature control system overloads and self-cooling is no longer possible. The Pinellas County Health Department urges the public to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses this summer.
• Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Do not wait until you're thirsty to drink. Don't drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar. Also, avoid very cold drinks because they can cause stomach cramps.
• Stay indoors and, if possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, visit a friend or go to a shopping mall or public library. Electric fans may provide comfort, but when temperatures reach the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a better way to cool off.
If you must be out in the heat:
• Try to be outdoors before noon or in the evening.
• Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals lost in sweat. Warning: if on a low-salt diet, check with your doctor before drinking sports beverages. Try to rest often in shady areas.
• Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and by using sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Never leave a person or pet in a closed, parked vehicle. Even if the vehicle is in the shade, temperatures can heat up quickly to more than 100 degrees.
For families in Florida who have no health insurance coverage for their children, Florida KidCare can help.
Florida KidCare provides health benefits for children 19 and younger, and includes regular doctor visits, immunizations and dental and vision benefits. Most families pay $20 or less per month. Many pay nothing at all for their children to be covered.
To receive a Florida KidCare application by mail or get information by phone, call toll-free 1-888-540-5437. Applications are also available online at www. floridakidcare.org.
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A series of six support sessions for those grieving from the sudden or traumatic death of a loved one will be offered 6-8 p.m. Thursdays, Aug. 7 through Sept. 11, at the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast's community service center, 2675 Tampa Road, Palm Harbor.
Trained counselors will guide participants through the grief process and provide a path toward healing.
New members will not be admitted after the second session. For information, call the Center for Loss and Healing at hospice at (727) 523-3455.
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Attend a free lecture, "Home Birth Midwife Care: A Natural, Woman-Centered Approach to Pregnancy and Birth," with licensed midwife Anne Hirsch at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Nature's Food Patch, 1225 Cleveland St., Clearwater.
Topics will include natural labor without interventions, organic foods, nutrition and breast-feeding.
Call (727) 443-6703.
Schedule of seminars and support groups
(Free unless otherwise noted.)
T.O.P.S (Take off pounds sensibly): 8-10 a.m. every Wednesday at the Largo Community Center, 65 Fourth St., Largo, (727) 538-2361. Fee.
Strong for life fitness (senior exercise for 50-plus): noon to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays at the Oldsmar Senior Center, 127 State St., (813) 749-1195. Fee for nonmembers.
codependents anonymous: 7:30 p.m. every Thursday at Bible Fellowship Church, 4670 East Bay Drive, Largo, (727) 365-4896.
cancer support group (women): 6 p.m. Aug. 4 and 18 (first and third Mondays of every month), Powell Cancer Center, 303 Pinellas St., Clearwater, (727) 462-7500.