Perhaps the biggest concern simply is public safety and taking care of those who need it most during this time. At Cryst-al Care Center in Portsmouth, normal activities have been moved indoors to protect its residents from the heat.
The center typically hosts outdoor cookouts and takes its residents on trips to the movies and around town, but administrative assistant Lisa Whitley said they've decided to move events inside for their own safety.
The outdoor activities have been replaced with indoor crafts and Elvis Day coming this weekend. She said the entire facility is air conditioned, and private air conditioning is found in residents' rooms.
This year's high temperatures also prevented residents from visiting the Scioto County Fair earlier this month. Instead, the staff at the center hosted their own fair with games and activities for residents.
Carol Sauer, director of nursing at Crystal Care Center, said people should watch for symptoms of illness, weakness or dizziness.
“Dehydration from heat or heat stroke are probably the biggest risks to people without air conditioning, because it gets so hot inside their home, and over a period of time, they get so hot and they don't realize it. One of the biggest things is just to drink plenty of fluids,” Sauer said.
She said because many elderly people already suffer from poor health, such as heart conditions, they are especially at risk in extreme weather.
“Some of them aren't able to get up and do things for themselves. They may have home health services, but that's only for a few hours a day, and not everyone has families checking on them,” she said.
In temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, elderly people aren't the only ones affected by the hot weather.
New Boston is one of the few school districts left in the county that does not have new school buildings or central air-conditioning units to keep its students cool. Classes at New Boston resumed on Wednesday, but Thursday and Friday classes were let out two hours early because of the heat.
Superintendent Mike Staggs said they began to worry when students were going home sick from the heat, complaining of headaches.
“It's hot, but the kids seem to be doing well. They're definitely tired and exhausted by the end of the day,” said New Boston High School Principal Melinda Burnside.
She said classrooms have fans blowing to keep the room cool - some teachers have as many as five fans, bringing their own from home, she said. She also addressed the students, suggesting they wear loose clothing to stay cool, and she has begun allowing students to have bottled water in the classroom to keep them hydrated.
“Our students are just as good as any students in the state of Ohio, and I would like to see them have the facilities that most other schools have ... being able to have the air conditioning,” Burnside said.
Staggs said because weather is so unpredictable, they'll just take the days as they come, deciding whether or not to continue classes as the day's temperature is revealed.
Whether or not a school or business has adequate air conditioning, they can at least take comfort in working indoors - a luxury not shared by many city workers.
“The sanitation division in itself, they take precautions as early as June, and their schedule changes ... to try to beat the heat,” said Portsmouth Assistant Service Director Alex Watts.
He said city workers are all around, working in the scorching sun - picking up trash, mowing grass and patching holes in the streets. Workers try to stay cool by keeping cold water and other drinks on the trucks with them.
Watts reminds those working in the heat to pace themselves and come inside if they start to feel sick.
“Most of the work continues as normal. They try to take it a little bit lighter, but there's just such a demand that the only way really to get around it is to make sure they stay hydrated,” he said.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, and by e-mail at email@example.com.