As the weekend nears and we heed the National Weather Service’s Excessive Heat Warning, it’s a good time to review best practices. The following is a guide to follow during heat-related events:
After a fairly mild summer, the hottest weather so far this year is expected this weekend. The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for most of this weekend for the entire region, including all of Clark County. Temperatures will range from the mid-90s to close to 100 degrees at lower elevations. Excessive heat warning in effect from noon Friday to 5 am Sunday for the greater Portland and Vancouver Metro area, the lower Columbia River and the Western and Central Columbia River Gorge.
Hot weather tips:
If you must be out in the heat:
Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar. These actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
- NEVER leave anyone, especially children or pets, in a closed, parked vehicle.
- Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
- Infants and young children
- People aged 65 or older
- People who have a mental illness
- Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
- Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
If you must be out in the heat:
Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.
Try to rest often in shady areas. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses. Use sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.
Avoid prolonged exposure to sun during the hottest time of the day
Heat related illnesses:Although any one can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on Infants and young children, people aged 65 or older, and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs of heat stroke may include a body temperature above 103°F; red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.
If you see any of these signs, have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Place the victim in a tub of cool water or in a cool shower, or spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose. Do not give the victim fluids to drink.
Less severe heat related illnesses include heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Signs are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and vomiting. Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.
Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps.