Dangerous temps expected through weekend

Published 12:57pm Saturday, June 30, 2012

Emergency management officials are urging residents throughout the region to be mindful of rising temperatures and heat indexes over the
next several days.

Escambia County EMA Director David Adams shared information released concerning conditions that could be dangerous for some area residents.

“The conditions forecast could result in some serious heat-related illnesses for people exposed to the elements for prolonged periods,”
Adams said. “The forecast is indicating that we could see dangerous temperatures through the 4th of July.”

Officials with the National Weather Service say a large dome of high pressure will bring an extended period of hot weather throughout the
region over the coming days. Afternoon heat indices are expected to range from 102 to 107 during hottest times of the day. The forecast is
calling for Sunday to be hottest day with head index values reaching as high as 11 degrees. Heat advisories may be required for a portion
of the central gulf cost over the weekend, officials said. Adams said the dangerous heat could continue through the weekend and
well into early next week.

Health officials warn that the best defense against heat-related illnesses is prevention. Following certain prevention tips may help
eliminate the possibility of becoming ill due to extreme heat. Some tips to consider include:

• Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor
generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.

• Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar–these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid
very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

• Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping
mall or public library–even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your
local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.

• Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a
cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

• Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

• Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on
infants and young children; people aged 65 or older; people who have a mental illness; those who are physically ill, especially with heart
disease or high blood pressure.

• Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children,
of course, need much more frequent watching.

There are also tips to follow if you must be in the heat:

• Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

• Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.  A sports beverage can
replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports
beverage.

• Try to rest often in shady areas.

• Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

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