Pandemic impacts escapes from holiday heat

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INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers are hunkering down for a holiday heatwave. The temperatures are expected to scorch over the next several days, but places to go to cool down may be limited by the pandemic.

“It’s important to remember we are in Indiana you have humid days,” details Dr. W. Graham Carlos, Chief of Medicine at Eskenazi Health, “When things are humid sweat doesn’t evaporate from our bodies like it normally would in dry conditions.”

If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, cool malls and restaurants will not be at full capacity, and splash pads remain closed. So where can you go?

Indy Parks will have 5 pools open over the next few days, but they are open across three sessions per day. Pool capacity is also limited. The pools are open Tuesday through Sunday.

“In between those various shifts we are allowing for our staff to do whatever disinfecting cleaning they need to do,” explains Ronnetta Spalding, spokesperson for Indy Parks.

Dr. Carlos reminds people to remain socially distant at public pools, adding that areas like the bathroom are a hot spot for coronavirus transmission. Spalding says certain Indy parks have marked out lounge spaces to help people socially distance themselves poolside or in the green spaces of local parks.

“The virus can still be transmitted even in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Dr. Carlos, “The transmission rate may go down a little bit, but it certainly doesn’t go to zero.”

Dr. Carlos suggests Hoosiers take advantage of Indiana’s cooler nights and open the windows in their homes to cool it down if they don’t have air conditioning throughout the home. In the coming weeks, Indy Parks has some nighttime events planned to bring people into the colder night air.

“There are some night movies that will happen because we have to wait for the sun to go down to start showing some of those, and concerts occur during the evening as well,” says Spalding.

If you are an at-risk or elderly person staying in a hot home to avoid exposure to COVID-19, you may want to find a family member to stay with who has access to air conditioning.

“If you do have preexisting conditions, especially cardiac conditions, the stress and strain of getting dehydrated [impacts] the heart’s increased stress rate. It’s called tachycardia, and can be particularly troublesome,” explains Dr. Carlos.

Hoosiers are reminded to stay hydrated and keep cold packs with them if they are going to be outside for long periods of time.

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