Stay cool as the temperature rises this week

June 28, 2013

By Staff

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NEW — 5:35 p.m. June 28, 2013

The mercury could reach 90 degrees in the days ahead, and as temperatures rise, so do the risks for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

State public health officials recommend people seeking relief from high temperatures to visit air-conditioned places, such as public libraries, shopping malls or movie theaters. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help people stay cooler once they get back into the heat.

State Department of Health officials remind people to stay indoors and in air-conditioned environments as much as possible, and to drink plenty of fluids — but not beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar.

For residents headed outside in the heat, plan strenuous outdoor activities for early or late in the day, before the temperature rises. Remember to take frequent breaks when working outdoors.

Know the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Overheating occurs if people cannot cool themselves fast enough. The condition can lead to symptoms of heat exhaustion, including muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. Move a person showing signs of overheating to a cooler location, and ask him or her to rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if he or she does not feel better.

In severe instances, people can suffer heat stroke. The condition can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Symptoms of heat stroke include extremely high body temperature of 103 degrees or more; red, hot and dry skin; rapid, strong pulse; and nausea, confusion and unconsciousness.

Sunny skies and summer temperatures typically draw more people to local rivers, lakes and even Puget Sound to cool off, but officials caution that water bodies remain very cold. River temperatures can still be in the 40-degree range due to snow melt – and lakes aren’t that much warmer.

Kayakers, boaters, rafters, swimmers and other river users should check conditions and scout rivers thoroughly for hazards before entering the water.

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