Heatwave descending: ‘Everyone better be cautious,’ doctor says

Weather Specials

It will feel hotter than the actual temperature

Sunlight shinning on a bright, clear day.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The heatwave that has been roasting much of the U.S. in recent days is just getting warmed up, with temperatures expected to soar to dangerous levels through the weekend.

From Oklahoma to the East Coast, heat indices could rise into the triple digits.

It will feel hotter than the actual temperature because of air temperature and humidity combined. This can make it difficult to breather for sensitive groups, and you can get worn out rather quickly.

It doesn’t take much to make sure the heat doesn’t take a toll on your body, but it can be easy to forget to take that extra care. Drinking more water, giving yourself breaks in the middle of the day to go inside and enjoy some air conditioning, are just a few easy tips, but when you forget, dehydration, heat exhaustion and eventually heat stroke can set in.

Mercy Health physician Dr. Chris Economus just being thirsty is the first sign your body gives to let you know it’s time for some water to get inside.

“Thirsty and sweating but eventually you could get so much that you’re getting dehydrated and you stop sweating. Your skin could get dry and you could start getting dizzy and confused,” Economus said. “I think everyone better be cautious that it can happen to them. No one is resistant to the phenomena.”

The signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are similar. Here is what to look for:

Signs of heat exhaustion: (Requires medical attention)

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Excessive thirst
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Weakness
  • Confusion or anxiety
  • Drenching sweat, often accompanied by cold, clammy skin or a sensation of prickly skin
  • Slowed or weakened heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Agitation

Signs of heatstroke:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Fatigue
  • Hot, flushed, dry skin
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dry skin
  • Profound sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased urination
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Increased body temperature (104 to 106 degrees
  • Confusion, delirium, or loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions

Communities are preparing by offering buildings as cooling centers and asking residents to check in on family members and neighbors.

According to FEMA, the greatest risk factors for heat-related deaths are bed confinement due to medical illness, living alone, being socially isolated, and not having access to air conditioning.

Extreme Heat Safety Tips:

  • Stay indoors, especially during the warmest part of the day (typically 11 am to 2 pm), and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning or it fails, go to a public building with air conditioning such as a shopping mall, public library, or community center
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle
  • Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on: o Infants and young children o People aged 65 or older o People who have a mental illness o Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Get to know symptoms for heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and sunburn and how to respond immediately.

Officials are also concerned about smog, which is exacerbated by the heat and makes it harder for certain people to breathe, including the very young, the elderly and people with asthma or lung diseases.

The National Weather Service estimates that more than 100 local heat records will fall on Saturday, though most won’t be daily highs but record-high nightly lows.

Greg Carbin, forecast branch chief for the weather service’s Weather Prediction Center, says the heatwave will likely be “short and searing.”

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