It’s getting hot outside, and it’s likely to get hotter.

Friday was the first day of summer, and Southern Illinoisans know the heat and humidity is just getting started.

Extreme heat and humidity can make working outside difficult, which is something of which Beck Simonds is very aware.

“The first heat wave seems to be the worst,” the assistant to the general manager at E.T. Simonds said. “(We) make sure (our crews) are aware of the signs of heat exhaustion,”

Those signs are heavy sweating, cramping, paleness, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Simonds said the company promotes the “buddy system,” which means no one works alone in the heat.

“We’ll adjust our crews knowing it’s going to be a hot day,” Simonds said.

Even if you’re not working on hot road under the blazing sun, the hot temperatures of summer can be dangerous.

Carrie Eldridge, director of health education at Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department, said it’s important to check on your neighbors.

“With the extreme temperatures … we want to make sure the public checks on infants and the elderly,” she said.

She said for those who have to be outdoors, it’s important to drink water and stay in the shade.

Simonds said his workers drink Gatorade to replace electrolytes, and the company has purchased canopies to set up in areas where shad isn’t readily available.

These precautions can help people avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke, both Eldridge and Simonds said.

People aren’t the only ones at risk of ill effects from the heat.

“Take precautions for your pets as well,” Eldridge said.

Pets also need extra water and shade, and it’s important people don’t leave their pets in their car when it’s not running.

The temperature inside a car with no air conditioning rises quickly, and a pet can suffocate just as quickly as a child.

“The heat can definitely take a toll,” Eldridge said.

618-351-5080

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