Take Precautions as Extreme High Temperatures Hit Spokane County
SPOKANE, Wash. – The National Weather Service (NWS) in Spokane has forecasted extreme heat with temperatures in the high to very high heat risk category Monday through Saturday, which can be especially problematic for those who are heat sensitive and those without effective cooling and/or adequate hydration, say experts at Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) and Spokane County Emergency Management (SCEM).
The NWS issued an Excessive Heat Watch in anticipation of an extreme heat wave impacting the Inland Northwest this week. Beginning Monday, temperatures will warm into the upper 90s before reaching the 100s Wednesday through Friday. Daily, record-high and low temperatures are within reach during the peak of the heat wave, Wednesday through Friday.
“Stay safe and healthy during hot weather. Know the signs of heat-related illness and the simple things you can do, like drinking lots of fluids, to reduce your risk,” said SRHD Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velázquez.
Health officials explained children, seniors, individuals living homeless, people with chronic illnesses and people who take certain medications, such as blood pressure medications or antihistamines, are especially at risk for health problems associated with high temperatures, including heat exhaustion.
Extended exposure to high heat could result in heat exhaustion with symptoms ranging from dizziness, weakness and nausea to lack of coordination, and could turn into heat stroke, which is life-threatening and requires immediate medical help.
Velázquez encourages people to check on neighbors and loved ones who fit within these at-risk categories or who may not have adequate cooling in their home.
To learn about symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and how to treat it, visit srhd.org, where the following resources are available:
To avoid heat-related illness on hot days:
- Drink plenty of water or fruit and vegetable juices. Avoid caffeine or alcohol.
- Limit time outdoors, especially in the afternoon when the day is hottest.
- Be careful about exercising or doing a lot of activities when it is hot. Stay out of the sun, take frequent breaks, drink water or juice often and watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Dress for the weather. Loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothes are cooler than dark colors or some synthetics.
- If you live in a home without fans or air conditioning, open windows to allow air flow, and keep shades, blinds or curtains drawn in the hottest part of the day or when the windows are in direct sunlight. Cool showers can help, too. Do not use a fan when the air temperature is above 95 degrees—it will blow hot air, which can add to heat stress.
- Take a break from the heat by visiting public locations where it is cooler such as the mall, watching a movie at the theater, visiting a public library, or utilizing a designated cooling center in your community. SRHD will list locations as they are reported to us on our website’s Extreme Heat page.
Health officials also warn that the temperature inside a parked car can reach more than 120 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. Direct sunlight and dark-colored interiors further speed the process. Children and animals should never be left in a parked car, even for a few minutes and even with the windows open. Lock parked cars to prevent children from playing in them, and it’s advised to leave pets at home even for short trips. SCEM officials advise people to call 911 if they see children or pets locked in an unattended vehicle.
Keep your pets indoors if possible. If they’re outside, make sure they have plenty of fresh water and somewhere out of the sun. Please leave your pets at home during this extreme weather unless you can take them everywhere with you. Also, don’t take walks or runs until the sun sets and the pavement cools. If you put your hand on the sidewalk and it’s hot to you, it can burn your pets’ paws.
Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) is a leader and partner in public health by protecting, improving and promoting the health and well-being of all people through evidence-based practices. SRHD is one of 34 local public health agencies serving Washington state’s 39 counties. Visit www.srhd.org for comprehensive, updated information about SRHD and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Like SRHD on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to receive safety and wellness tips.
Spokane County Emergency Management (SCEM) is the County Department responsible for the coordination of activities related to emergency and disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery for Spokane County, as well as our incorporated Cities and Towns. SCEM supports collaboration and communication between government, non-government, and private sector partners to engage with and support the resilience of the Whole Community.