Today is Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Heat index stays in triple digits

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By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson PostThere doesn’t appear to be any way around it, but we’re going to remain hotter than normal for the next six to 14 days.And during these very hot days, it is important to remember that if you be outside, be extra careful so you don’t suffer from heat stress, heat exhaustion or worse, heat stroke.The high heat has contributed to stagnant air and for the second day in a row, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has issued a Code Orange Health Advisory for the area, including Wilson County, which is in effect until midnight, Wednesday.What the advisory means is that ground level ozone concentrations within the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards.The general public is not likely to be affected, but active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Most people seem to be taking precautions to deal with the heat as physicians in the emergency room at University Medical Center have only seen a couple of patients with heat-related symptoms.“We’ve had a couple, nothing serious,” said Dr. Scott Giles, noting the complaints have included overheating, heart beating faster, dizziness, signs of heat stress.Giles said if you have to be outside and participating in physical activity, be sure to drink 1 to 2 quarts of water per hour and preferably drink 1 quart of water and 1 quart of a sports beverage which helps keep electrolytes, or salts, in your system.If you drink only water, he said, and sweat out the salt in your system, that can lead to cramps.Giles said medical attention should be sought immediately when someone stops sweating, have hot, dry skin; experience a change in consciousness, have a high temperature and vomiting. These are the symptoms of heat stroke and can be life-threatening. Call 911 immediately.If possible, move the person to a cooler place and quickly cool the person’s body by loosening or removing tight clothing and apply, if needed, ice or cold packs wrapped in a cloth to the wrists, ankles, groin, neck and armpits.The best advice for dealing with the hot weather, Giles said, is “Don’t get out in it unless you have to.”    Until then, it would be nice if Mother Nature would grace us with some rain which would help clear the air, literally. But other than pop-up showers here and there, no significant thunderstorms are expected.Continued hot this week is probably the best way to describe the forecast for the rest of this week from the National Weather Service Office in Old Hickory. The high today should reach 97 under mostly sunny skies with a heat index as high as 101. The low tonight will be about 73.There is a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms on Thursday under partly cloudy skies and a high of 95. The heat index should be about 99. Thursday night’s low should be 73 with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.Friday’s high will be about 95, and the low Friday night should drop to 72.Forecasters at the weather service said in a special weather statement yesterday that a large dome of high pressure extending from Texas and Oklahoma east to the Tennessee Valley will continue to keep temperatures hot.The weather service reminds you to wear a hat if you’re outdoors and to dress in lightweight and light-colored clothes to help reflect the sunlight. Use sunscreen or sunblock to protect against sunburn.Above all, do not leave a child, an elderly person or a pet in a hot car for even a minute as temperatures can rise quickly inside a closed vehicle and can become deadly.Check on elderly family members and neighbors to be sure they are coping with the heat. Make sure your pets have extra water and replace it often. You might want to bring them indoors during the hottest part of the day.Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at news@wilsonpost.com.
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