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Pioneer Editorial: The heat is on Saturday, 100? Uff da!

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The Bemidji area received an unexpected reprieve Thursday evening when storms rolled through, dropping temperatures more than 20 degrees. But the heat is on -- the thermometer is supposed to reach the mid-90s today and skirt with 100 on Saturday.

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Such high heat brings health concerns, a natural disaster of sorts, and we're happy to see the state's "homeland security" effort extend to offering protection from the heat.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Thursday announced "Operation Stay Cool," which coordinates the efforts of the state Departments of Health, Natural Resources, Human Services, Agriculture, Commerce and Public Safety to help Minnesotans through cope with the heat.

"People around the rest of the nation may think of Minnesota as a cool place, but we're about to see how hot things can get up here," Pawlenty said. "During this heat wave, it's important for Minnesotans to take care of themselves and one another. State government will do our part by providing services to those in need."

Efforts range from advice to beat the heat, to information about staying cool and still save energy dollars, traffic tips in high heat, wildfires and crop damage, and livestock tips.

Helpful tips from the state Health Department include:

-- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids -- warm or cool -- to prevent dehydration, but avoid caffeine.

-- Curtail outdoor activities if possible, wear a hat and sunscreen if you must be outdoors. Wear loose, lightweight clothing.

-- If you do not have air conditioning, try to spend at least two hours in an air-conditioned shopping mall, restaurant, library, theater or other building. Close shades, blinds and curtains in your home during the day, but keep windows open slightly for air circulation. Open windows and window coverings at night.

-- Use fans to blow trapped hot air out windows, do not allow fans to blow on you or others in extreme high temperatures and humidity -- about 90 degrees with humidity greater than 35 percent -- because it increases heat stress.

-- Avoid using the stove and oven.

-- Eat small meals more often. Fruits, vegetables and salads are best.

-- Shower or bathe in water that is near skin temperature.

-- Keep lights low or off.

-- Postpone vacuuming or running other electric appliances that generate heat.

-- If taking regular medication, consult with your physician. Some medications cause adverse reactions in hot weather.

-- Do not use salt tablets unless directed to do so by a doctor.

-- Provide extra water and a cool area for pets.

-- Never leave anyone -- infants, child-ren, frail adults, or pets -- alone in cars.

There are a lot of outdoor activities planned this weekend in Bemidji, and we hope that people enjoy them with these tips in mind.

All we can say, if the temperature reaches 100 on Saturday, is UFF DA!

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