Well, it's here, friends—the weeks we have all been dreading, the weeks where our little community becomes as hot as the surface of the sun. With the increased level of humidity in the area over the last few years, these above-100-degree days are just dreadful, at least in my book. So I am here to share a few helpful tips and tricks that the DOH has put out to keep in mind as we roll into an excessive heat warning.

Department of Health

As we approach the Fourth of July, parts of Washington State may experience triple-digit temperatures by Friday, prompting the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to encourage residents to take precautions and prepare for outdoor activities to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday.

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The National Weather Service is forecasting moderate to serious heat across much of Washington by the end of this week. In light of this, it’s crucial to stay informed about weather conditions and plan ahead, particularly to monitor those with health conditions, the elderly, and infants to prevent heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The DOH recommends the following measures to stay safe in the heat:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids regularly, not just when you feel thirsty.
  • Take Breaks: If working outdoors, take frequent breaks. Wear wide-brimmed hats, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and protect your skin from sunburn.
  • Recognize Heat Illness Symptoms: If you experience dizziness, nausea, headaches, or muscle cramps, move to a cooler location and rest. Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms persist.
  • Keep Your Home Cool: Close windows and shades during daylight hours and minimize stove and oven use to keep indoor temperatures down.
  • Check on Others: Regularly check on friends, family, and neighbors, especially those who are elderly, ill, or vulnerable. Do this particularly before bedtime.
  • Protect Outdoor Pets: Ensure pets have shelter from the heat and walk them on grass instead of hot asphalt. Never leave people or pets in a parked vehicle.
  • Be Cautious with Water Activities: Despite warm temperatures, rivers and lakes remain cold. Cold water can cause involuntary gasping and hyperventilation, increasing the risk of drowning. Be cautious with temperature changes, especially when entering water.
  • Prevent Wildfires: Stay informed about the current wildfire risk in your county, adhere to burn bans, and practice firework and campfire safety.

By following these guidelines, residents can enjoy their summertime activities while minimizing the risks associated with high temperatures and outdoor hazards. Stay safe and have a happy Fourth of July!

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