It's a scorcher out there!
Temperatures are expected to reach close to 100 degrees on Friday and Saturday. The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories from noon to 8 p.m. Heat indexes are expected to be 104 degrees or so.
The heat and humidity expected over the next couple of days could cause heat-related illnesses for many people.
Those most at risk include the elderly, infants and children up to the age of 4, the overweight, people who work or exercise outdoors, and people with heart or respiratory problems.
According to the Allegheny County Health Department, heat-related illness occurs when the body’s temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but sometimes this cooling mechanism breaks down, and the body temperature rises rapidly, triggering heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt contained in sweat. Warning signs include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting and fainting.
Seek medical attention immediately if the symptoms are severe or if the person has heart problems or high blood pressure. Otherwise, help the victim cool off, and seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.
Heat stroke—a more serious and potentially life-threatening condition—occurs when the body is unable to control its temperature and the sweating mechanism fails.
Warning signs may include: an extremely high body temperature (above 103° F); red, hot and dry skin, due to no sweating; a rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea, confusion; and unconsciousness.
Death or permanent disability may result without emergency treatment. Cool the victim rapidly by any means available until paramedics arrive.
Here are some tips to cool off:
- Drink plenty of fluids—at least eight cups a day.
- Take a cool bath/shower. If you don't have air conditioning, visit a mall, senior center, theater or friend's house.
- Wear lightweight clothes.
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The Department of Human Services Area Agency on Aging reminds residents that seven senior centers are open extended hours to provide refuge from the heat and humidity. For a list of the senior centers, click here.
More tips for keeping cool are located on the Allegheny County Department of Human Services website at www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/cooling-tips.aspx.