By Esther French
Temperatures are rising well into the 90s, with the humidity making it feel like more than 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
Stay cool! To take advantage of air conditioning in public spaces, head on over to the Takoma Park Library or the Takoma Park Community Center. (Another fun option if you have the time: Go to a water park!)
Anyone without air conditioning and unable to get to a cool facility should call the Montgomery County Crisis Center at 240-777-4000 for assistance.
Severe heat can be dangerous. Those most at risk for heat-related illnesses are young children, the elderly, and people with health problems such as asthma.
Here are some tips from Montgomery County to stay safe and comfortable:
Stay Indoors and Low-Key
Stay indoors, whenever possible. Be careful to avoid strenuous activities that can result in overexposure to the sun, such as sports and gardening. If you must do a strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually before 9 a.m.
Wear a Hat
When outdoors, wear proper protection from the sun. Light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen protection are recommended.
Replace Your Coffee With Water
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration, cramps, exhaustion or heat stroke can result from not drinking enough fluids. Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine. The good news? Metro is allowing riders to drink and carry water with them on trains this week.
Look Before You Lock
Never leave pets, elderly seniors or young children in a car, even with the windows cracked. Earlier this month, two babies in Maryland and Virginia died after they were left in a car. Call 911 if you see a person or animal unattended in a locked vehicle.
Be a Good Neighbor
Check frequently on elderly relatives or neighbors and other at-risk individuals. Watch for signs of heat-related illness such as hot, dry skin; confusion; hallucinations; and aggression.
Protect Your Pets
Don't forget about keeping your pets well-hydrated and out of the sun. Executive Regulation 10-10AM, Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs, Section 2-D, states, “A person must not tether a dog under circumstances that endanger its health, safety, or well-being, including: unattended tethering of a dog during a weather emergency.” The penalty for this violation is a fine of $500. The regulation is enforced whenever the National Weather Service issues an Excessive Heat Warning.
Watch for Signs of Heat-Related Iillness
• Heat cramps: symptoms include painful muscle spasms, usually involving the abdominal muscles or legs;
• Heat exhaustion: first signs are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness; and
• Heat stroke: the most serious sign of overexposure. Symptoms include red, hot and dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing, and changes in consciousness. Seek emergency medical attention by calling 911.