County Urges Residents to Take Precautions during Excessive Heat
With temperatures forecast for the upper-90s to 100° later this week, and heat indexes forecast to exceed that, County officials are urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves against heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Residents are also asked to check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors who may be isolated to be sure they are not showing signs of heat-related illnesses. County facilities, including libraries, swimming pools, recreation and senior centers, as well as regional services centers, will be open and may provide respite from the heat.
“Summer heat can be dangerous, especially for seniors and those with chronic illnesses,” said County Health Officer Dr. Ulder J. Tillman. “It is important for all of us to check on our friends, relatives and neighbors to make sure they are safe during extreme temperatures.”
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has issued a CODE ORANGE Air Quality Alert of Wednesday, July 6 for the DC Metro area. A Code Orange Air Quality Alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases, and the elderly. The effects of air pollution can be minimized by avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.
The following precautions will help residents remain safe and comfortable during excessive heat days:
Stay indoors, whenever possible. Visit nearby air conditioned buildings in your community if your home is not air-conditioned. In addition to County facilities, residents can visit shopping malls, movie theaters and museums.
A hyperthermia plan for homeless shelters has been activated and shelters that are normally closed during daytime hours will remain open so that individuals can stay indoors.
Heat Safety Tips
Be careful to avoid strenuous activities that can result in overexposure to the sun, such as sports and gardening.If you must do a strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning before 9 a.m.
Drink plenty of water.Dehydration, cramps, exhaustion or heat stroke can result from not drinking enough fluids. Water is the safest liquid to drink.
Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
When outdoors, wear proper protection from the sun. Light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen protection are recommended.
Never leave pets or young children in a car for ANY amount of time, even if the windows are cracked open.
Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
Infants and children up to four years of age;
Individuals 65 years of age and older;
Individuals who are ill or on certain medications; and
Individuals who are overweight.
Knowing the signs of heat exposure can prevent serious illness from becoming life threatening. Should any of the following occur, get out of the heat, loosen any tight or heavy clothing, and drink plenty of water:
Heat cramps: Symptoms include painful muscle spasms, usually involving the abdominal muscles or legs;
Heat exhaustion: First signs are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness; and
Heat stroke: The most serious sign of overexposure. Symptoms include red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing and changes in consciousness.
Seek medical attention by calling 9-1-1.