Locals are keeping their cool despite the hotter than normal temperatures in the area last week. Despite some northern Nevada record-breaking temperatures, health officials said they have not seen any patients with heat-related illnesses.

"People must be looking after themselves," said Humboldt General Hospital Emergency Department/Inpatient Services Director, Rita Clement. Avoiding heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and other heat-related illnesses is mostly common sense; however, Clement offered some warm weather health reminders:

• Stay in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible.

• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light colored clothing.

• Keep hydrated by drinking more water, and limit sugary and caffienated drinks because they can be dehydrating.

• Be informed about weather conditions.

Dogs and cats can suffer from heat-related illnesses in summer weather, too. Dr. Rolfe Schwartz, veterinarian at Keystone Veterinary Hospital, said, "First and foremost, provide plenty of clean, fresh, cold water to pets. That's the most important thing." Ideally, pets should also have access to a shaded area.

Also important, said Schwartz, is to not exercise pets in the heat of the day. "Even nine in the morning, that's getting too warm to walk dogs. It's better to exercise them either really early in the morning or really late in the evening," said Schwartz.

The trouble with dogs, he said, is they keep playing or hiking even when they are overheating. "You have to watch them, and take responsibility for them because they won't quit."

Owners should watch their pets for excessive panting or lethargy, and if they spot these symptoms, move the animal to a cool, shaded area and provide water immediately.

Cats, on the other hand, generally use more common sense. They will find shade outdoors or a cool spot in the house when temperatures rise. Schwartz said cats get into trouble if they are confined in a small room and cannot escape the heat.

Kelle McCreary, veterinary assistant at Zimmerman Veterinary Services, echoed Dr. Schwartz's recommendations and said animals must have 24-hour access to water and shade.

"I don't care if it's a rat or a horse, don't overexert them in the heat of the day," said McCreary. She said to be mindful of hot road surfaces as gravel, rocks, and sand can burn pets' feet.

The heat can cause stress in an animal which may make them more susceptible to disease, said McCreary. And some diseases like parvo have a higher incidence rate in the summer. "Puppies need to be vaccinated against the parvo virus now," she said.

Even your car needs extra attention during the warm weather months. RJ Savoy, assistant manager at Winnemucca Tire Factory, said cooling systems and tires should be checked. Blowouts occur because of low air pressure in the tire and the age of the tire.

The black hunks of blown out tires that litter the highway should be avoided said Savoy.

"We call them alligators because they tear things up. They can damage fuel lines and exhausts."

Contact Stephanie Morton at s.morton@winnemuccapublishing.net.