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Heat takes toll on fairgoers; temperatures not as bad as last year

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Temperatures in the 90s, sunny days and not enough water have sent about 15 people per day to the medical tent at the Johnson County fair.

Paramedics offer them some water and a shady, cooler spot to sit down. So far this year, that’s been good enough for most people who have been getting overheated and dehydrated at the fair.

One person was taken to the hospital for heat-related illnesses by midweek, and about 15 people per day stop to get checked out at the medical tent after feeling sick from the heat, Seals Ambulance paramedic Haley Sodervick said.

The number of visits to the tent just off the midway is down compared to past years. For example, in 2011, 17 people were taken to hospitals during fair week, fair public safety coordinator Tracy Rumble said.

When fairgoers stop by the medical tent, workers will ask what they’ve been eating or drinking and give them a chance to take a break. The fair also has an air-conditioned trailer on site to help fairgoers cool down.

Sodervick tells fairgoers sweating is good for their body on a hot day. Not sweating or getting dizzy and confused are the early signs of heat stroke, and anyone with those symptoms should take a break and try to cool down, she said.

Although temperatures are hovering around 90 this week, the heat isn’t as bad as it was in recent years, when temperatures were that high on Sunday, the busiest day of the fair, Sodervick said.

Misting stations set up at some booths and fans in 4-H barns and tents also help keep people cool, she said.

Fairgoers typically make sure to drink water and find shade whenever possible during the hottest parts of the day.

“Workers, kids doing shows, they’re used to being in heat,” Sodervick said.

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