Use safety precautions to stay cool as mercury rises

August 15, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 12:15 p.m. Aug. 15, 2012

The mercury is expected to surpass 90 degrees Wednesday and in the days ahead, and as temperatures rise, so do the risks for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle forecast highs of 89 for Wednesday, 95 for Thursday and 96 for Friday — hot enough to trigger a regional excessive heat watch. Thursday and Friday could rank among the hottest days of 2012.

State public health officials recommend for people seeking relief from high temperatures to visit air-conditioned places, such as public libraries, shopping malls or movie theaters. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help people stay cooler once they get back into the heat.

In Issaquah, city officials monitor the community through the police department and other resources before making a decision to open a public cooling station.

Issaquah is also under a regional red flag warning, meaning a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and high temperatures can create explosive fire potential.

State Department of Health officials remind people to stay indoors and in air-conditioned environments as much as possible, and to drink plenty of fluids — but not beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar.

Public Health – Seattle & King County also offers tips for residents to beat the heat in safety.

For residents headed outside in the heat, plan strenuous outdoor activities for early or late in the day, before the temperature rises. Remember to take frequent breaks when working outdoors.

Know the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Overheating occurs if people cannot cool themselves fast enough. The condition can lead to symptoms of heat exhaustion, including muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. Move a person showing signs of overheating to a cooler location, and ask him or her to rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if he or she does not feel better.

In severe instances, people can suffer heat stroke. The condition can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Symptoms of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature of 103 degrees or more; red, hot and dry skin; rapid, strong pulse; and nausea, confusion and unconsciousness.

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