Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Stay Cool

The power just having gone out on our block, I figure it's a good time for a public-service announcement about the heat.

Stay Cool

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Wikipediaice_1 The power just having gone out on our block, I figure it's a good time for a public-service announcement about the heat.

If anyone you know is suffering from the weather, which is expected to feel like 100 degrees for a few days, tell them about the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging's heatline. It's 215-765-9040, and was activated Saturday at 2 p.m. The heatline will stay staffed until Wednesday, or until the National Weather Service calls off its excessive heat warning.

The heatline is a counseling service. City Health Department nurses take the calls. They're able to dispatch mobile relief teams and notify 911 for emergencies. It's not a number to call for fans or air conditioners.

I learned of the site while house-sitting for a neighbor Saturday. Linda Riley works for the PCA, and I should have known she was sensitive to the heat, when she sat me down in a wicker chair on the corner of her porch and handed me an ice tea. Decaf.

"No sodas with caffeine, no alcohol," she began. It got worse. "A fan is not your friend in this weather if you're in a closed room."

"If it's only blowing hot air, it's dehydrating you. It takes away your sweat, which is a natural coolant, and makes you sweat some more."

Linda gave a few cheap and easy suggestions for how to beat the heat if you have no air conditioning. Get on a Septa bus. Bring an ID, and it's free for seniors, off-peak. Or go to a movie. If you're house-bound, plop your feet in a bucket of cold water. Place a cold towel or an ice pack on the back of your neck.

"Water's the best thing," she said.  "Take a shower or a cool bath. Drink lots of water. No mint juleps. Sorry."

And tell grandma to stay out of that fountain.

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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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