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garden

KN, p. 177 “Did she die of heatstroke?”

 

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It’s no secret that we’ve been doing a LOT of digging in the gardens this summer. The work can get hot and steamy, so we tend to start early in the morning. It’s not as humid and the bugs aren’t swarming in full force yet. Yesterday, I was delayed getting out there, so before I realized it, the sun was high in the sky, it was 95 degrees, I was really hot, and I was sweating something fierce.

 

And, suddenly thirsty. I was even a little dizzy and felt a headache coming on. As soon as I figured out what was happening, I dropped the tools and got myself inside. Sheila saw me ditch the shovel and headed in as well. I grabbed a cold, wet towel for my neck and she handed me some water. There was some scowling, but the crisis was averted.

 

What had happened? The heat got too much for me and I needed a tall, cool glass of water. I had left my golf cap inside, along with my bottle of water and my golf bandana, and I was paying for it. It didn’t get as far as heatstroke, but if I’d been at the golf course or the beach, and not 15 seconds from help, it could have.

 

The Mayo Clinic defines heatstroke:

 

“Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke requires emergency treatment.”

 

In the summertime, when temperatures reach in the high 90s on a regular basis, we will normally feel hot outdoors, so how do we know that there is a problem? Athletes, moms, dads, dogs, babies – everyone is vulnerable to heat stroke and we need to be aware of the symptoms.

 

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Nobody I know carries around a thermometer, so aside from the high body core temp, symptoms can include:

  • Nasty headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of sweating
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Disorientation, or staggering

 

 

How do we prevent things from getting to that point? Especially if you or your friends are planning to be out hiking, working, or camping in the heat, far away from speedy help?

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Preventing Heat Stroke

 

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, and a hat.
  • Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more.
  • Drink water – a half ounce for each pound of body weight – if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water – and that’s on a regular day with no exercise or extra heat involved.
  • Increase that amount if it’s hot outside or you are working/exercising outside.
  • Drink an extra bottle of water an hour before exercise, then during exercise, drink another 8 ounces of water every half hour, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Shift your outdoor activities to the coolest times of the day, either early morning or after the sun goes down if you can. If not, make sure to follow the rest of the suggestions.

 

 

People die from heat stroke. That’s why we are warned not to leave children and pets in hot cars. When it’s hot outside, the heat in the car gets magnified by the windows, resulting in temperatures that can be 30 degrees hotter inside the car – a disaster waiting to happen.

 

Sporting events are times where people get caught up in the competition and forget to hydrate, sometimes with tragic consequences. At the time the article below was published, the softball player’s death was unexplained, but later pointed to heatstroke. What do you think?

http://weartv.com/news/local/questions-of-heat-stroke-raised-after-preteens-death

 

I always pack a bandana or ‘cold collar’ in my golf bag, wear a hat on the course, and take plenty of water with me. I got careless at the house, but that won’t happen again.

 

For additional information:

https://www.drugs.com/health-guide/heat-stroke-hyperthermia.html

 

*Photos by Patti Phillips

 

 

 

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KN, p. 173 “Don’t Poison the Dogs and Cats – Part 2”

 

We love to garden and we work on ours whenever the weather and our work schedules will allow. Hammett, our family friendly Irish Setter, is still with us. He’s a bit slower in the field, but is healthy otherwise. We’d like to keep him that way, so our garden needs to be dog friendly as much as possible.

 

This year we went to the new garden center in town to pick up some flowering ground covers to fill in shady spots between the larger plants under the trees, along with a few new flowering trees for the backyard. The owner of the garden center knows Hammett snuffles at everything, so she steered us toward plants that are safe for both dogs and cats.

 

But, as we wandered through the aisles of glorious flowers and foliage, she mentioned a very popular groundcover that is a no-no for any gardener with pets that like to sample the new greenery in the yard.

 

Portulaca, a groundcover that has many colorful varieties,

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can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. Ferns and Burro’s Tail might be a better choice. No flowers, but safer if your dog chews everything in sight.

 

 

Calla Lily

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We knew that day lilies were not a good idea for cats, but thought that calla lilies might work for dogs, especially after we saw the beautiful pink one at the garden center. Nope. They can cause burning, irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, and excessive drooling. Sheila sighed and put the pot back on the bench.

 

We had a row of peonies in the back that were out of Hammett’s way, but because of flooding, we had to move them.
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Unfortunately, we discovered that peonies are a bad idea for dogs because eating the flowers can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. I was a little surprised at depression being listed as a symptom, but then if the poor dog gets sick…I guess that would be an issue while he mopes around recovering. We solved our problem by fencing the peony area. Hammett has been trained to avoid fences.

 

 

Everybody in the family knows that the garden is a work in progress, especially since the wet weather more or less drowned a few specimens. With that in mind, the cousins bring us small plants or clippings whenever they stop by. We’ve enjoyed expanding the flower beds, but one gift was a well-meaning near mistake. Hibiscus

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also causes vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. After we heard about the problems, we planted it next to the peonies, behind the fence.

 

 

Chrysanthemums
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We love mums in every color and variety. We know they cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even incoordination, but we have planted them in an area of the yard where Hammett never goes. A black snake lives a few feet from there and ever since Hammett first saw the snake and jumped about ten feet straight back, he stays far away from that part of the property. The snake is happy, Hammett is happy, and we get mums in the yard. Win-win-win.

 

 

Clematis

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A clematis can cause vomiting and diarrhea, but ours is growing on a porch post, well out of Hammett’s reach.

 

Our dog friendly flowers – coreopsis, petunias, snapdragons, and cornflowers – are lookin’ good and we have them in spots where Hammett might wander through or snuffle at a bug on the ground. They look pretty and his tummy stays happy.

 

To read “Don’t Poison the Dogs and Cats” (part 1) click here.

 

Check with your garden center for information about pet friendly plants.

 

Or

 

Click on this link from the ASPCA:

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/

 

 

*Photos by Patti Phillips

 

 

 

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