Hot temperatures coming to the area

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Make sure you keep an ice-cold glass of water handy, because it’s only getting hotter.

Jessica Talley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham, said with the high humidity already hot temperatures would feel even hotter in the coming days.

“It looks like, for this week, we’re looking at daytime temperatures in the upper 90s,” Talley said. “It looks like (today) is going to be the hottest day, topping out at around 96 degrees Fahrenheit. With such high dew points, it’s going to make the temperature feel much hotter than it actually is. So, we’re looking at heat index values of about 106 degrees.”

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Talley said that, typically, the max heat index values are between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m. every day.

“It looks like both (today) and Wednesday heat index values will be up around 106 degrees, but Thursday and Friday they will lower slightly to about 104 degrees,” Talley said.

Talley said the drop in temperatures in the latter half of the week are not really significant enough to make a difference so people should continue to exercise precaution when working outside during the hottest times of the day.

“We advise people to drink a lot of water, especially if you’re going to be outside and, if at all possible, it’s best to stay inside in the air-conditioning during these hot-hot days,” Talley said. “If there is a need for you to be outside, then make absolutely sure to drink plenty of water.”

Jon Adams, physician assistant with Pike Internal Medicine, said planning your day around the hottest hours is beneficial especially if you have a lot of physical activity planned for the day.

“The real key is to hydrate before any heavy physical activity,” Adams said. “You need to be hydrating and eating plenty of water-containing foods the day before you plan on doing any kind of exercise or work out in the heat.”

Adams said during these hot summer month’s water is “our best bet” and that there really isn’t a substitute for water.

Adams said the value in proper hydration lies in the fact it helps to ward off heat illnesses.

“If you feel like you have a mild headache that won’t go away, nausea, or just an overall sense of not feeling ‘good,’ and a severe lack of energy, then you need to get to a cool place and start drinking plenty of fluids,” Adams said. “If need be, go to the hospital and get evaluated — it could be life threatening.”

Adams said once you become dehydrated it is “too late.”

“Once you become dehydrated, you can’t drink enough water to re-balance yourself,” Adams said. “You have to drink ahead of time.”

With all the humidity, local residents are trying to find ways to beat the heat.

Lydia Mitrevski, local resident, said she has noticed the rise and temperatures and has been trying to avoid the heat the best she can.

“I usually play tennis, but I wait until later in the night when the sun goes down,” Mitrevski said. “Playing around in all this heat is ridiculous. You have to either get up early or wait until the evening to do anything it seems. It’s just too hot.”

Mitrevski said that she and her friends, around this time of year, like to frequent the beaches and local “watering holes.”

“My friends and I just get so hot here in Troy and when the air-conditioning doesn’t quite ‘cut it,’ we make plans to go to the beach or a local pool,” Mitrevski said. “It’s the best way to keep cool in the summertime.”

It’s important to be aware of the warning signs of heat illness.

The Alabama Department of Public Health warned of the impending heat and, in an effort to educate citizens on the early warning signs of heat illness, such as heat stroke, said people ought to be aware of what to look for.

Warning signs of heat stroke vary, but include the following: an extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit); red, hot and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

Donald Williamson, state health officer, said heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency and every effort should be made to help individuals exhibiting these common signs that indicate over-heating.

“A person with heat stroke is likely to be unconscious or unresponsive, so he or she cannot safely consume any liquids,” Williamson said. “Under no circumstances should you give any alcohol to a person with heat stroke or any heat illness.”