Heat Index Expected to Exceed 100 Degrees for the Upcoming Weekend

July 21, 2016

The primary reason for the “Public Health Excessive Heat Outlook” is to notify the public that beginning Friday July 22, the National Weather Service (NWS) expects a 3-day stretch with daytime heat indices reaching at least 100 degrees, coupled with nighttime lows in excess of 70 degrees. These types of conditions can cause those without air conditioning to experience significant physical and mental stress. When nighttime lows fail to drop below 70 degrees, the human body has a difficult time recovering from the ongoing heat.

Public Health is stressing that everyone needs to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses, especially the very young, individuals with chronic medical conditions and the elderly. Physical activity should be limited as much as possible. Individuals are also encouraged to minimize prolonged exposure to high heat conditions.

Everyone should pay particular attention to the following suggestions to prevent heat-related illness:

  • Drink plenty of water and non-alcoholic fluids. Alcoholic drinks can increase a person's risk to heat-related illnesses.
  • Decrease physical activity. This is particularly advisable for joggers and high school or junior high school athletic teams. Exercise activities should occur in the morning or early in the evening. Stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Use air conditioning, if available. Many public buildings, libraries, malls and other locations are air-conditioned.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, and light-colored cotton clothing.
  • Eat light meals.
  • Cool down with showers, baths, and recreational swimming.
  • Adjust blinds, shades, and awnings to keep out the sun.
  • Use your basement, if it is cool, during the hottest hours.
  • Be a good neighbor and check on those who may need assistance.
  • Individuals with chronic health problems, such as heart disease or lung problems, should minimize activities because the heat will add      additional stress.
  • Extra caution should be taken for the elderly and young infants and children to assure that they are protected from the heat.
  • Children and pets should not be left unattended in closed vehicles. Temperatures can reach dangerous levels rapidly.
  • Individuals on various medications should check with their doctor to see if the heat puts them at increased risk.

Know How to Treat Heat Exhaustion

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or fainting.

  • People experiencing these symptoms should be moved to a shady or air-conditioned area.
  • Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet clothes or towels.
  • Have person sip on a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. If the person refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness, call 911 or the local emergency number.

Know How to Treat Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation. Call 911 immediately. Symptoms include: a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher; red, hot dry or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse; and possible unconsciousness. People experiencing these symptoms should be moved to a shady or air-conditioned area.

  • Before medical help arrives, begin cooling the person by any means possible, such as spraying person with water from a garden hose or by placing the person in a cool tub of water.

Public Health considers many factors before issuing a public alert. Those items include daytime high temperature, overnight low temperature, wind, cloud cover, dewpoint, multiple day forecast, type of air mass, and additional information from a variety of other sources, including the NWS and area meteorologists. Another primary consideration is time of year. High temperatures and high humidity in the early portion of the summer season place considerably more stress on individuals than those same temperatures and humidity in the later portion of the summer when people have become acclimated to the summer weather.

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