OLYMPIA – Thurston County Health Officer, Dr. Dimyana Abdelmalek has issued a health alert due to the excessive heat beginning Friday, June 25, and lasting through at least Tuesday, June 29. Temperatures are expected to reach well over 100 degrees for several days.
"These predicted high temperatures in our area can lead to serious heat related illnesses, hospitalization, and death, especially in vulnerable people such as older adults, children, and those with chronic diseases, mental illness, and people living outdoors," said Dr. Abdelmalek.
Thurston County residents are advised to follow these safety tips.
- Frequently check on those who are at risk and may be affected by the heat. The elderly, young children and infants, and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk during extreme hot weather.
- Never leave children or pets in a car.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and avoid beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine.
- Dress in light weight clothing.
- Avoid strenuous activity.
- Cut down on exercise during the heat and pace yourself.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
- Wear sunscreen. Look for sunscreen that says "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on the label.
- Give pets plenty of fresh, clean water.
- Make sure outdoor pets have plenty of well-ventilated shade.
- Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool.
- Trimming long or thick hair on your pet is ok, but never shave your pet down to the skin. The layers of a pet's fur protect them from overheating and sunburn.
- If you use sunscreen or insect repellent on your pet, make sure it is labeled specifically for use on animals.
- Never leave a pet in a car.
- Pets should avoid strenuous activity. Walk your dog in the morning or evening to avoid overheating and burned paws from hot asphalt.
- Watch for signs of overheating in your pet, such as excessive panting, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, and stupor or collapse.
- Watch for signs of heat exhaustion. Fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, and dizziness or fainting are all signs of heat exhaustion.
- Watch for signs of heatstroke. A body temperature above 103 degrees, a rapid, strong pulse, red, hot, and dry skin, throbbing headache, dizziness, confusion, and nausea are all signs of heatstroke.
"Our local emergency departments, hospitals, and first responders are preparing for a surge in people who need medical care due to this event, but we want to prevent that," added Dr. Abdelmalek. "I am encouraging residents to take advantage of cooling centers and public places with air conditioning, to avoid strenuous activity in heat, and to stay hydrated. I strongly urge anyone planning outdoor events or athletic activities to reschedule or move to safe indoor, cool locations."
You can find a comprehensive list of cooling centers in Thurston County at www.thurstoncountywa.gov. Cooling center information may be updated periodically.
Residents are encouraged to follow Thurston County on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
For additional information on heat related illness, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html.