The Dog Days of Summer arrived a little earlier than usual this year. The season itself started right on schedule, of course, with the solstice beginning on Wednesday. But the "Dog Days" phrase refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, that’s usually in the months of July and August. The name itself comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.
It’s only June and already we’re breaking heat records. Every state in the lower 48 except for North Dakota was forecast to have 90-degree weather until Saturday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A record temperature of 95 degrees was reported in Burlington on Wednesday, and here in Brattleboro some outside thermometers were even higher than that.
A cold front (if you can call it that) is expected to move through the region tomorrow and provide some relief over the weekend and into next week. But with three full months of summer yet to come it’s a safe bet that we haven’t seen the last of those dog days. If we’re seeing temperatures in the high 90s in June, we can only imagine what July and August will bring. No doubt the town swimming pools and local watering holes will be seeing a lot of activity this summer.
In anticipation of the hot weather, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued
The most dangerous health problem associated with the high temperature and the humidity we saw this week is heat stroke. This occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down, according to the CDC. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees or higher within 10-15 minutes.
Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Some of the signs to look for include extremely high body temperature; red, hot and dry skin; rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness. The heat can be especially dangerous for our elderly friends and family, as well as pets and small children, so check on them regularly.
Summer should be a time of fun-filled days at the beach, backyard barbeques, riding bikes around the neighborhood, and sitting under the cool shade of a large tree eating ice cream or sipping on a tall glass of lemonade; no one wants to taint those memories with a trip to the emergency room.