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Another View: Stay alert to the dangers of extreme heat

Summer is here and with the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic being lifted, more people will be going outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and take part in summertime activities.

With the arrival of summer, however, comes higher temperatures and increased humidity.

Could this past week of extreme higher than normal temperatures and humidity be any indication of the type of weather the Lehigh Valley will see this summer?

Meteorologist Domenica Davis in a recent video on The Weather Channel.com titled “Your July Temperature Outlook is Here,” released the following statement.

“Your July outlook is in, and it looks like this pattern we are seeing now could carry us through much of July.

“The jet stream is forecast to stay well to north and that means we could see above average temperatures ... so we could be looking at a very hot July for the northern tier of the country.”

What is extreme heat?

“Extreme heat is defined as summertime temperatures that are much hotter and/or humid than average,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states. “High temperatures kill hundreds of people every year. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet more than 700 people die from extreme heat every year in the United States.”

People need to know the difference between heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke and be able to recognize the signs of each.

Heat cramps are muscle spasms, often in the abdomen, arms or calves, caused by a large loss of salt and water in the body, according to American Red Cross.

Get medical help right away if cramps last longer than one hour.

Heat exhaustion is a severe heat-related illness requiring emergency medical treatment.

Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, cold, pale and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, headache, brief fainting and fast or weak pulse.

Heat stroke is the most serious medical condition caused by extreme heat and requires immediate emergency treatment, the American Red Cross website states.

Signs of heat stroke include high body temperature (104 degrees of higher), hot, red, dry or damp skin, fast or strong pulse, headache, dizziness, confusion and loss of consciousness.

Move the person to a cooler place, help lower the person’s temperature with a cool or cold bath, misting, fanning or applying cool cloths, if a bath is not available.

Do not give the person anything to drink and call 911 right away. Heat stroke is a medical emergency.

There are many ways to protect yourself, loved ones, older adults and pets during periods of extreme heat.

·Stay indoors in the air conditioning.

·Drink plenty of fluids such as water or Gatorade.

·Wear loosefitting, light-colored clothing.

·Avoid strenuous exercise or activities during the hottest part of the day, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and take frequent breaks in the shade if you work or need to be outdoors.

·Never leave a child, an elderly person or pet alone in a vehicle on a hot summer day.

·Check on family, friends and elderly neighbors, who may not have air conditioning and live alone. Make sure pets have plenty of water to drink and a cool, shaded place to rest. Walk pets on grassy surfaces as extreme hot concrete and asphalt can burn their paws.

By taking extra care, everyone can enjoy this summer following more than a year of having restricted activities and being inside.