POULSBO — Temperatures are expected to reach the high 90s and possibly low triple digits before the end of the week.
The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued an excessive heat warning for Northwest Washington from 2 p.m. Aug. 1 to 9 p.m. Aug. 4.
Unusually hot weather for the region is expected to begin Aug. 1 with expected highs in the mid 80s to lower 90s, warming to near-record highs the following two days. Aug. 3 is expected to be the hottest day in the stretch for most spots, with high temperatures within 5 degrees of the all-time record of 105.
While Aug. 4 is expected to be a bit cooler, highs will still be in the upper 80s and 90s before the heat stretch concludes.
Around 618 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, health officials say.
Heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, happen when the body is unable to properly cool itself. When a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs.
According to the CDC, some factors that might increase your risk of developing a heat-related illness include high levels of humidity, obesity, fever, dehydration, prescription drug use, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and alcohol use.
Older adults, young children and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. However, even healthy people can be affected without taking the proper precautions.
“Heat illness can happen to anyone,” Dr. Susan Turner of the Kitsap Public Health District said. “So it is important that people take steps to stay hydrated and keep cool during this week’s expected heat wave.”
Take these hot-weather precautions to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Remember to take similar precautions for pets as well.
- Wearing appropriate clothing. Choose lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
- Stay cool indoors by keeping your home air-conditioned as much as possible and limit the use of stoves and ovens. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to a public place. Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
- While an electric fan may provide comfort, it will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
- Remember to schedule outdoor activities when it’s coolest, and pace yourself. Morning and evening hours are best. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
- Never leave infants, children or pets in a parked car, even if the windows are cracked open. This is especially true during hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.
- Tip: To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver. When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out of the car.
“Summer heat can be deadly for pets,” said Natalie Smith, director of animal welfare and animal control at Kitsap Humane Society. “If community members see a pet in a hot car or without adequate care out in the heat, they should call 911 immediately to report the situation to animal control officers.”
“Stay hydrated,” North Kitsap Fire & Rescue communications liaison Michèle Laboda said. “Recognize the signs of heat exhaustion before it becomes a more serious condition.”
- Drink plenty of fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Stay away from caffeinated, sugary or alcoholic drinks, as these cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Remember to keep your pets hydrated by providing plenty of fresh water for your pets in a shady area.
- Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them.
- Signs of heat illness can include dizziness, nausea, headaches, and muscle cramps. Other signs include cool, moist, pale, ashen or flushed skin, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness and exhaustion.
- If experiencing these, move to a cooler location, rest and slowly drink cool beverages. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better.
- Check frequently on people who are elderly, ill or may need help. If you might need help, arrange to have family, friends or neighbors check in with you at least twice a day throughout warm weather periods.
- Although anyone at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others: Infants and young children; people 65 and older; people who are overweight; people who overexert during work or exercise; people who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure; or who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation.
- Remember, when spending time in the water, wear a life jacket.
Laboda adds, because of the high heat there’s more potential for brush, forest and wild fires.
“We’re on a phase 1 burn ban,” she said. “A very limited number of fires are still allowed. We’re asking everyone to be especially careful with ignition sources.”
She said beach fires, unless on private property, are not legal.
“We hope folks will be aware and take appropriate a steps to avoid the effects of heat on themselves, their animals and their children,” Laboda said. “If folks need us, we’ll be there, but we hope to work together to make the [heat spell] as low impact as possible.”
— Sophie Bonomi is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.