Extreme heat temperatures this week will put people at risk of heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Being aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and knowing how to combat it can keep people safe during this heat wave.
“If you start to feel faint, dizzy, excessively sweaty, clammy, nauseated. If you feel sick or have muscle cramps these can be signs of heat exhaustion,” said Spokane Regional Health District spokesperson Kelli Hawkins.
If experiencing these symptoms, take a break and get out of the heat, drink water and try to stay away from drinks like sugary soda, caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Cool showers and compresses can help lower body temperature, Hawkins said.
Here are some way to prevent heat illnesses, according to the health district:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Limit outdoor time, especially in the afternoon.
- Take breaks when spending time outside and be aware of symptoms.
- Residences without air conditioning should open their windows for air circulation when it is warmer inside that it is outside, but should keep window shades down to block out direct sunlight.
- Do not use a fan when temperatures are above 95 degrees; it adds to heat stress.
- Visit public locations like local libraries, malls, movie theaters and designated cooling centers for cooler environments.
- Wear weather-appropriate clothing that is loose fitting and light colored.
- Wear sunscreen, sunburns negatively affect the body’s ability to cool itself.
Children, elderly people, people who are overweight, those who are physically ill and pets are all at high risk of illness.
The health district advised people to keep pets inside unless pet owners can take them everywhere they go. When they are outside, make sure they have somewhere out of the sun to lie and sit and fresh water to drink. Don’t walk pets in the afternoon until sidewalks cool down later in the day. If the pavement is too hot for a human’s hand, it can burn a pet’s paws, according to a health district news release.
“It’s really important to check on other people, elderly neighbors, people without air conditioning – those at high risk, check on them,” Hawkins said.
Health officials also warned of the dangers to animals, children, people with disabilities and elderly people being left unattended in parked cars.
“The temperature of a parked car will get even hotter than it is outside,” Hawkins said. “As little as 10 minutes in a car that hot can be dangerous.”
If someone sees an instance like this, Hawkins says, “Call 911 immediately.”