Extreme heat this week prompts Oregon Public Health warning
Oregonians should stay hydrated, limit sun exposure as temps top 107
As the state’s temperatures break into the triple digits this week, health officials are recommending Oregonians take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses that can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
“Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are nothing to mess around with. They are serious problems that can make you very sick, and heat stroke can be lethal,” said Richard Leman, MD, a public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. “People need to take precautions when temperatures reach triple digits.”
The National Weather Service anticipates a major heatwave hitting the state between Tuesday and Friday, with temperatures expected to reach 100 early in the week and 104 to 107 on Wednesday and Thursday. The high temperatures are likely to continue Friday with temperatures near 100. Even the low temperatures will be warm: from the mid-60s to lower 70s in the valleys, and mid-70s to low 80s in the foothills and lower Cascades.
The Public Health Division offers the following tips for staying safe and healthy during extreme heat conditions:
- Stay in air-conditioned places when temperatures are high, if possible.
- Limit exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest. Try to schedule activities in the morning and evening.
- Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate, especially during morning and evening hours, and close shades on west-facing windows during the afternoon hours.
- Use portable electric fans to remove hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and protect your skin from the sun.
- Use cool compresses, misting, and cool showers and baths.
- Avoid hot foods and heavy meals; they add heat to the body.
- Never leave infants or children in a parked car. Nor should pets be left in parked cars—they can suffer heat-related illness, too.
- Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 when going outside.
- Regardless of your level of activity, drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty and especially when working outside.
- Avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar
- Keep up-to-date on the temperature and heat index when planning your activities so you can find ways to stay cool and hydrated. The heat index measures how hot it feels outside when factoring in humidity with the actual air temperature.
- Learn how to prevent, recognize, and treat heat-related illnesses.
- Know the warning signs of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash, and how to treat and prevent them.
People with a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or kidney disease may be less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Also, they may be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat. People in this category should be closely monitored to make sure they’re drinking enough water, have access to air conditioning and know how to keep cool.
Those who exercise in extreme heat or work outdoors are more likely to become dehydrated and get heat-related illness, and should pay particular attention to staying as cool and hydrated as possible.