Hotter temperatures are becoming more and more common in the PNW. When hot temperatures are expected and the NWS Portland issues a heat advisory or warning, here's what to consider in keeping Family, Friends, and pets safe during heat-related events here in the Pacific Northwest.
Things To Consider:
- Stay indoors and in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible unless you're sure your body has a high tolerance for heat.
- Drink plenty of fluids but avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar.
- Never leave any person or pet in a parked vehicle.
- Check frequently on people who are elderly, ill or may need help. If you need help, arrange to have family, friends or neighbors check in with you at least twice a day throughout warm weather periods.
- Make sure pets have plenty of water
- Status of Clark County Severe Weather Centers and Shelters
If You Go Outside:
- Plan strenuous outdoor activities for early or late in the day when temperatures are cooler; then gradually build up tolerance for warmer conditions.
- Take frequent breaks when working outdoors.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sun block and light-colored, loose-fitting clothes when outdoors.
- At first signs of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps), move to a cooler location, rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better.
- Avoid sunburn: Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
- NEVER leave anyone, especially children or pets, in a closed, parked vehicle.
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
Even on hot days, many rivers and lakes in Southwest Washington remain cold:
- Cold water − especially when high or swift − can immobilize even the strongest swimmer in minutes.
- Know the water: Washington waters are cold enough to cause hypothermia even on the hottest summer day. Hypothermia can weaken even strong swimmers.
- Know your limits: drowning often occurs when a swimmer tires.
- Wear a life jacket when swimming anywhere without lifeguards or whenever you boat, jet ski, go tubing or do other water sports.
- Ensure children wear life jackets. Inflatable toys and mattresses will not keep children safe. By law, children 12 and younger must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or vest on all vessels 18 feet or smaller.
- Never leave children unsupervised in or near water, even for a minute. Drowning can happen swiftly and silently. Supervision requires complete attention, even if other adults are present.
- Always avoid alcohol when swimming or boating.
Heat Related Illness:
Although any one 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, and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs of heat stroke may include a body temperature above 103°F; red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.
If you see any of these signs, have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Place the victim in a tub of cool water or in a cool shower, or spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose. Do not give the victim fluids to drink.
Less severe heat related illnesses include heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Signs are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and vomiting. Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.
Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps.