Keeping Cool and Safe During a Heatwave
June 25, 2021
With temperatures expected to reach historic highs in the Pacific Northwest this weekend and through early next week, an excessive heat warning has been issued by the National Weather Service. The forecast calls for temperatures reaching above 110 degrees in some areas of the Eastside.
Experts advise to stay indoors in air conditioning, if possible. Keep windows and doors closed if you are using air conditioning. Draw curtains and close blinds to keep indoor temperatures down.
If you are without air conditioning, King County is opening cooling centers, including select King County Public Library locations at 50% capacity. Other ideas to beat the heat include going to the movies (if you’re fully vaccinated) or the mall, taking a shower to cool down.
If you must be outside, limit the time you spend in the direct sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and apply sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors and every time after swimming. For extra protection, wear sunglasses, hats and lightweight/UV-protective clothing.
It’s extremely important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Dehydration, especially for sensitive populations, such as young children and older people, is a risk of not drinking enough fluids. If left untreated, it can pose a serious threat to your health. To calculate how many ounces of water you need each day, divide your body weight by two. Stick to beverages without alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
Symptoms for mild to moderate dehydration include:
- Dry, sticky mouth.
- Sleepiness or tiredness.
- Decreased urine output.
- Few or no tears.
- Dry skin.
- Dizziness or light-headedness.
You can usually treat mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids. But if severe signs and symptoms occur, such as extreme thirst, a lack of urination, shriveled skin, dizziness or confusion, please get medical care immediately.
In addition to dehydration, other heat-related illnesses that pose potential danger include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash and sunburn. Depending on the illness and severity, symptoms range can from dizziness, headache and nausea to confusion, muscle cramps or even fainting. If resting in a cool place does not bring relief, or if symptoms get worse, be sure to seek immediate medical attention or call 911.
Other Heat Safety Tips
If you visit a friend or family member who has air conditioning and you are not fully vaccinated, please wear a mask.
Check in with elderly friends and family members who are at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses. They may need your help to stay cool and hydrated.
As tempting as it is to jump in a lake or river, it’s advised to practice water safety precautions, including getting into the water slowly, wearing a life preserver and not consuming alcohol while engaging in water sports.
It is very important to never leave pets or people in parked cars. Call 911 if you see a pet or child in a hot car.