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Tips for Staying Cool During this Heat Wave

boy in heat with water bottle featured.fwAre you ready for high temperatures and humidity? This is the kind of weather that makes our summers infamous.

The National Weather Service is warning that a heat wave will impact our area Friday – Sunday.

Local health officials have posted some tips for staying cool on the county’s website.

“Summer heat can be dangerous, especially for seniors and those with chronic illnesses,” said County Health Officer Dr. Ulder Tillman. “It is important for all of us to check on our friends, relatives and neighbors to make sure they are safe during extreme temperatures.

Residents are advised to stay indoors whenever possible to remain safe and comfortable on hot days.

County facilities, including libraries, swimming pools, recreation and senior centers, as well as regional services centers, will be open and may provide respite from the heat. In addition to County facilities, residents can visit shopping malls, movie theaters and museums. A hyperthermia plan for homeless shelters has been activated and shelters that are normally closed during daytime hours will remain open so that individuals can stay indoors. Progress Place in downtown Silver Spring will remain open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for all homeless individuals.

Residents are also asked to check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors who may be isolated to be sure they are not showing signs of heat-related illnesses.

Heat Safety Tips

  • Be careful to avoid strenuous activities that can result in overexposure to the sun, such as sports and gardening. If you must do a strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning before 9 a.m.
  • Libraries, recreation centers and pools are good places to cool off, along with shopping malls and movie theatres. To quickly find the location of public facilities, go to http://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mymontgomery and type in your location. The website includes the locations of pools, parks, libraries, regional services center, recreation centers, Metro stations and hospitals. Residents with questions about specific locations and hours of operation should call 3.1.1 or 240.777.0311 from a cell phone. Anyone without air conditioning and unable to get to a cool facility should call the Montgomery County Crisis Center at 240.777.4000 for assistance.
  • Drink more water than usual.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Remind others to drink enough water.
  • Avoid drinks containing alcohol, or caffeine or, high amounts of sugar.
  • When outdoors, wear proper protection from the sun. Light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen protection are recommended.
  • Never leave young children, the elderly, or pets in a car for any amount of time, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • The Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center staff recommend that domestic animals be kept indoors during periods of extreme heat. Many types of animals can be subject to serious injury and possible death from a variety of heat-related causes. Animals that must remain outdoors need to be provided with shade and given plenty of water. Executive Regulation 10-10AM, Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs, Section 1.0-II-D is enforced in the summer months as long as and/or whenever the Weather Service issues an Excessive Heat Warning. This regulation states that, “A person must not tether a dog under circumstances that endanger its health, safety, or well-being, including: unattended tethering of a dog during a weather emergency.” The penalty for this violation is a fine of $500.
  • Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include: infants and children up to four years of age; individuals 65 years of age and older; individuals who are ill or on certain medications; and individuals who are overweight.

Knowing the signs of heat exposure can prevent serious illness from becoming life threatening. Should any of the following occur, get out of the heat, loosen any tight or heavy clothing, and drink plenty of water:

  • Heat cramps: symptoms include painful muscle spasms, usually involving the abdominal muscles or legs;
  • Heat exhaustion: first signs are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness; and
  • Heat stroke: the most serious sign of overexposure. Symptoms include red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing and changes in consciousness.Seek emergency medical attention by calling 9.1.1.

For general information about County programs and services, call 3.1.1.

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