Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Now for Something Completely Different: Summer Weather

If the forecast is right, we may have a whopping 48 degree difference between the record low of 48 degrees on Monday morning and the 96 degrees predicted for Thursday. The Weather Service issued a Heat Advisory for Wednesday and Thursday so it’s time to start chanting our summertime cautions. All together now:

  • If possible, stay out of the sun. When in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head.

  • Use an air conditioner if you have one. Set the thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.

  • If you do not have an air conditioner, keep rooms well-ventilated with open windows and fans. Consider going to a public pool, air-conditioned store, mall, movie theater, or community cooling center.

  • Fans work best at night, when they can bring in cooler air from outside.

  • Drink fluids, particularly water, even if you do not feel thirsty (people with heart, kidney or liver disease, or on fluid restricted diets should check with their doctors before increasing fluid intake).

  • Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar.

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.

  • Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car during periods of intense summer heat.

  • Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you must engage in strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, when the weather gets hot, it’s time to think about the vulnerable people in our community. Remember that infants and young children, people over 65, overweight people, and some people who are physically ill may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of heat. Now is a good time to check in on neighbors, family members, and others who may be in these groups and who don’t have access to air conditioning. Give them a call or stop by and offer to help them get to an air conditioned place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a great Extreme Heat website with many more tips on preventing heat injuries.

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