Area residents encouraged to take precautions during extreme heat

According to weather forecasts, temperatures are expected to be in the upper 90’s and nearing 100 degrees now through the weekend with heat indexes in the triple digits. Residents are encouraged to follow these prevention tips from the Virginia Department of Health:

Drink water. When the temperature rises, it is important to drink plenty of water. Drinks that contain caffeine, large amounts of sugar or alcohol should be avoided because they can cause you to become dehydrated.

Keep cool indoors. On hot days, prevent illness by keeping cool indoors. If your home is not air conditioned, try to spend the hottest hours of the day in a cool public place such as a library, movie theater, or store.

Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella. Always apply sunscreen to exposed skin.

Limit physical activity. Avoid excessive physical exertion in hot temperatures, especially in the middle of the day. If you must work outdoors, stay hydrated by drinking two to four glasses of water each hour and take frequent breaks in a cool place. Even a few hours in an air-conditioned environment reduces the danger of heat-related illness.

Do not keep children or pets in cars. Temperatures inside a car with windows up can reach over 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.

Check on your neighbors. Although anyone can suffer heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. People aged 65 or older are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses and complications that can result during periods of high temperatures and humidity.

In addition, keep animals cool when temperatures soar. According to the Humane Society of the United States, never leave pets in a parked car; limit exercising your pet to early morning or evening hours; make sure pets have protection from heat and sun; always provide pets with plenty of fresh, cold water, whether they are inside or outside.