DETROIT (WWJ) – A member of the Red Cross, which is helping get people to Detroit’s cooling centers, is learning first hand how hard it can be to get some people to leave their homes, even if it’s for their own health.

WWJ’s City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas spent some time with Glen Hendricks, of the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross. Hendricks, busy supplying cooling centers with bottled water, snacks and personal care kits, expressed concerned about his own mother, in her 80s, who refuses to go to a cooling center.

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“She refuses to use the fan. She has no air conditioner because it makes her stuffy. And she doesn’t want to drink water because it makes her walk around a lot and she can’t get around like she used to,” Hendricks said.

“So, this year, working in this process has given me a great deal of understanding and appreciation for the challenges in working with seniors and getting them safely through this hot, hot weather.”

Hendricks said if you know someone like his mom, you should check on them daily and try to get them out of the house for a movie or to go to the mall if they won’t go to a public cooling center.

Several cities have opened up buildings as cooling centers for the community. -See the complete list here-

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Whether in a hot vehicle or a home without proper cooling, heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature and may result in an
individual’s body temperature reaching 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children under four years of age, also at risk are the elderly, especially those with medical conditions.

The combination of high heat and humidity will cause heat index values to climb to around 100 degrees Wednesday and between 105 and 110 degrees on Thursday.

Tips for dealing with the heat include:

  • Increase fluid intake, regardless of your activity level
  • Avoid liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar
  • Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Close your curtains, shades or blinds
  • Use ceiling fans or box fans

If you must be outside:

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  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours
  • Cut down on exercise
  • Try to rest often in shady areas
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with at least SPF 15
  • Never leave children or pets in a closed, parked vehicle

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