Summer heat comes on strong; health official urge caution

Get ready for the first big heat wave of the summer.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat watch for the Puget Sound region starting Friday afternoon.

Temperatures are expected to hit the mid-80s Saturday and Sunday in Snohomish County. The farther south one travels the hotter it will get, said Johnny Burg, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

On Saturday, the temperature is expected to hit 90 degrees at Sea-Tac Airport, he said. If so, it would break the record for the day of 88 degrees set in 2000.

“We usually don’t see a heat wave like this until July and August,” Burg said. “This is a bit early.”

There’s a chance of thunderstorms in the Everett area Saturday night through Sunday evening. “Unfortunately they won’t bring much precipitation with them,” he said, increasing the chance of wildfires.

There won’t be much relief from the hot temperatures at night, either, with evening temperatures expected to hover in the 60s over the weekend.

The sudden increase in heat, while a joy for sun lovers, does bring with it some dangers, especially for children and older adults.

Drinking water before you feel thirsty is one of the most important things you can do, said Dr. Aisha Reuler, a pediatrician at The Everett Clinic. That’s especially true for young children, even though it’s hard to get them to drink as much water as they need in the heat, she said.

Infants and toddlers shouldn’t be in direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest. “If you can, just avoid being in the sun when the temperatures get high,” Reuler said.

Don’t leave children alone in a car on a hot day. Their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

“Stay hydrated, that’s always the key piece,” said Chuck Morrison, executive director of the American Red Cross Snohomish County chapter. Keep water available at all times for kids and pets, he said.

Running heat-radiating electrical appliances such as dishwashers and dryers early in the morning will keep homes and apartments a little cooler. And if you don’t have air conditioning, “going to the movies isn’t a bad place to go when it’s 90 out,” Morrison said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

Heat wave preparation

Check on those who are elderly or who have health challenges.

If working outside, rest for at least 10 minutes per hour to ensure that your body doesn’t overheat.

Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing.

Remember to not leave children and animals in parked cars.

Recognizing heat-related emergencies

Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs and abdomen and are the result of loss of fluids and electrolytes.

The signs of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, cool, moist or flushed skin, headache and nausea.

The signs of heat stroke are hot, red skin, vomiting and high body temperature.

If these symptoms occur, move person to cool place and apply cool wet cloths to skin, turn on fans, give small amounts of cold water.

If vomiting occurs or the person refuses water, call 911.

Source: American Red Cross

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