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Keep your cool at the S.D. State Fair

Posted: Saturday, Aug 31st, 2013

Shrieks fill the air Thursday as riders take off on the Super Shot, a thrill ride in the Goldstar Amusements Carnival. In the next photo, cattle get a cool shower Thursday in preparation for competition. PHOTOS BY MIKE CARROLL/PLAINSMAN

HURON — South Dakota State Fair-goers sweltered under the unforgiving heat of summer’s “Dog Days” as temperatures reached more than 100 degrees F accompanied by high humidity.

Indoor facilities, such as the Expo Building, provided an oasis of air conditioned relief for many. Meanwhile, those working in concession stands, carnival rides, etc., endured the heat as part of their workday.

Ice cream vendor Karla Edwards, owner of “All Things Cookie Dough,” avoided a sticky meltdown thanks to enclosing her booth in a shaded tent made of breathable material. The coolers containing the cold treats were not fazed by the heat and managed to work properly thus far, but oddly enough the heat has not benefited the ice cream business.

“The heat has kept people away,“ said Edwards.

Jim Thomsen, a vending veteran of the State Fair, works with hot grills sans air conditioning, relying on a consistent fluid intake and multiple breaks throughout the day to prevent detrimental heat issues. Thomsen, along with two of his concession workers, were in the midst of a break behind the store front when interviewed.

“We come outside, catch a little breeze, drink water,” said Thomsen, a native of Texas. “It’s always been warm here in the 24 years I’ve worked here.”

Carnival ride attendant Marie Copew of Louisiana kept a watchful eye over the big slides, which she said required no maintenance to prevent the slides from becoming dangerously hot while directly under the sun. “They stay cool and the kids have sacks to protect them if they do get hot,” said Copew.

As for preventing the heat from hindering carnival workers from doing their jobs Copew said hydration is key. “I drink a lot of water and a lot of juice.”

Matt Risetter of Redfield works as a security officer during the fair and echoed similar tactics as to how to keep cool during the workday.

“It’s important to drink plenty of fluids and pace yourself at the hot points of the day,” said Risetter.

It’s not just the workers that are at risk due to the high temperatures — anyone who fails to keep hydrated or cool down is susceptible to heat-related issues. EMT Superintendent Jeff Meyer has already treated many who succumbed to the heat, experiencing symptoms such as light-headedness, nausea, and ceasing to perspire.

“We’d had a number of heat- related incidents,” said Meyer. “We’ve had a 22-year old, 24-year old, and many seniors.”

Meyer said the elderly are more at risk in the heat as many take blood pressure medication, which depletes important minerals and vitamins essential to maintaining a regular body temperature.

“It’s important that they replenish the minerals,” said Meyer. “Sports drinks will be somewhat helpful.”

Meyer said no matter the age group it is prudent to drink water and take in minerals.

“Drink a lot of water and keep your mineral intake up. It’s almost as important as water.”

But not too much water as that can be detrimental to health as well.

“Part of what we’ve seen is water,” said Meyer. “Some of them are drinking profusely but it just got overwhelming.”

Anyone attending the State Fair who needs medical assistance — related to heat or not — can call 353-6674 to contact the EMT station on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds, which will also provide transportation to the medical booth.

For the complete article see the 08-30-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-30-2013 paper.

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