Heat Wave Tightens Grip on Area
The heat is on in Moore County.
A prolonged period of extremely hot weather is expected through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures in the upper 90s combined with humidity are expected to push the heat index value well above 100 degrees for the rest of the week. The weather service issued a heat advisory Thursday.
"Living in the Sandhills, you get heat in July and August, so it is pretty typical for us to be ready for it," said Dr. Otto Rogers in the FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital Emergency Department "What I'm worried about is those folks who get in trouble by doing things they shouldn't do, like gardening in the middle of the day, exercising in the middle of the day, not drinking enough fluids and not staying indoors."
High temperatures in combination with high humidity are commonplace during summer months and can pose a serious health risk to the elderly, children and anyone exercising or working outdoors.
Rogers said he has seen several patients in recent weeks who have suffered from mild heat-related illnesses, but nothing serious yet.
Elderly folks are more prone to be affected by the heat, Rogers said. But he encouraged everyone to avoid outdoor activities when possible.
"It's too hot out there to be outside unless you have to be," he said.
For those who have to be outside, it is recommended that they take frequent breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned building and drink plenty of water.
Heat-related illnesses range from minor heat cramps or rash to heat exhaustion and stroke.
Heat exhaustion warning signs include heavy sweating, poor concentration, paleness, cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache and fainting. If not treated, this condition can lead to heat stroke, which can be deadly.
Heat stroke is characterized by a body temperature greater than 103; red, hot and dry skin (with no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.
Steps to prevent heat-related illness include:
n Pace yourself during outdoor activities.
n Eat light, nonfatty meals.
n Wear cool, loose clothing.
n Avoid activity during the mid-day.
n Increase normal fluid intake and do not wait until you are thirsty to drink (hydrate hourly, with two to four large glasses of fluids. Avoid soft drinks, sugary drinks and alcohol).
n Get out of the sun and rest when you start to overheat.
n Do not leave children or pets in cars. Pet owners are also encouraged to keep animals inside when possible. If the animal has to be outside, make sure it has plenty of shade and fresh water.
Moore County Animal Control has not had any cases of heat-related deaths in animals this year. But prolonged periods of hot weather keeps animal control officers busy.
"We continue to get calls from citizens concerned about dogs that appear to be left out in the sun or don't have enough water," said Al Carter, director of Moore County Animal Control.
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story