‘Heat dome’ brings scorching temps; be prepared

Published 11:00 pm Friday, July 22, 2016

Buckle down … it’s going to be a hot one.

According to the National Weather Service, a “heat dome” will settle over the United States for the next four days, pushing already sweltering temperatures even higher.

As the dome of high pressure settles across the nation, hot air will be trapped underneath it. Factor in the humidity of an Alabama summer and, well, we’re in for a steamy combination.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

While most of us in the South are accustomed to heat waves and hot summers, this weather event could push our tolerances to the limit. So we need to be prepared:

• If you have outdoor pets, bring them inside or, if that’s not possible, make sure they have a shaded, cool spot and easy access to fresh, clean water.

• If you have children, keep them well hydrated and monitor their outdoor activities. Pools, the beach, splash pads and even the good ol’ water hose can provide plenty of outdoor fun and needed water to keep from overheating.

• Check on your friends and neighbors. The elderly, shut-ins or folks without central air conditioning are in particular danger. Make sure they have fans, a cool spot to rest and plenty of liquids.

• If you exercise outdoors, try to do so during the early morning or evening hours, when temperatures are somewhat cooler. Remember to be make sure you a well hydrated and, if possible, bring a cooling towel or additional fluids with you.

• If work takes you outdoors, rest often and in the shade. And stay hydrated, of course.

• Pay particular attention to infants, young children and the elderly, who are less efficient at regulating internal body temperatures. Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and act quickly.

• Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion. If someone has cool, moist, pale of flushed skin; heavy sweating; a headache; nausea; dizziness; or weakness, move them to a cool place; loosen tight clothing; and apply cool water or cloths to help reduce their body temperature. If the person begins to vomit or lose consciousness, call 911.

• Remember that heat stroke can be life threatening. It presents as hot, red skin; changes in consciousness; vomiting; and high body temperature. Call 911 immediately and try to quickly cool the person with wet towels or bags of ice.

• And we cannot say this enough: be mindful of infants and pets left in vehicles. Simply don’t do it.