VDH warns of weekend heat wave

Published 10:52 am Thursday, June 20, 2024

It’s going to be hot this weekend.

The Virginia Department of Health is warning of a prolonged heat wave that’s expected to reach Hampton Roads starting Friday.

According to the National Weather Service, air temperatures are forecast to reach 98ºF by Sunday, June 23, with a heat index of 105ºF.

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During 2023, there were 2,656 heat-related injuries and four heat-related deaths, including two infants left in vehicles, according to the VDH, which is urging area residents to reschedule outdoor work and activities outside of the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. window when sunlight exposure is greatest.

The VDH is urging the following precautions:

  • Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Take a cool shower or a bath. Spending at least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly reduces the risk of heat-related illnesses. When temperatures reach the upper 90s or above, a fan may not prevent heat-related illness.
  • Stay indoors or find a cooling center in your area on an extremely hot day.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: 2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour. To replace salt and minerals lost from sweating, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or when you have to work outside. However, talk to your doctor first if you are on a fluid-restricted diet or medications, or on a low-salt diet.
  • Avoid sunburn and wear light-colored clothing. Sunburn limits your body’s ability to keep itself cool and causes loss of body fluids. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater, and apply it at least 20 minutes before going outside.
  • Lighter weight clothing that is loose fitting and light colored is more comfortable during extreme temperatures. Use a hat to keep the head cool.
  • Give your body a break since extreme heat can be stressful on your body. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars. Temperatures inside a car can reach 150 ºF or higher quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.
  • Use the “buddy system” if you are working outside. While working outside and you suffer a heat-related illness, you could become confused or could lose consciousness. Therefore, make sure someone else knows of your plans.
  • Be sure to check on the elderly and neighbors without air conditioning.