With temperatures forecast to reach the upper 90s and heat indexes to surpass 100, Loudoun County officials are offering the following reminders for staying safe through this weekend and all through the Fourth of July week activities.
You can take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:
- Stay cool indoors.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Replace salt and minerals.
- Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
- Pace yourself — rest often if doing strenuous work or exercising.
- Monitor people at high risk.
- Do not leave children or pets in cars.
- Use common sense.
- Learn more at Ready.Gov/Heat.
Food and Drug Safety Information
High temperatures and power outages can combine to affect the safe storage of refrigerated and frozen foods as well as prescription medication.
If you take any prescription drug, you need to be aware that storage at high temperatures can quickly degrade the potency and stability of many medications. If your medications have been exposed to excessive heat, you should contact your pharmacist to see what he or she recommends.
Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk and eggs that are not stored properly refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed. Follow the golden rule of food safety: “When in Doubt, Throw it Out,” for any foods which you are not sure have stayed at a safe temperature or which do not look or smell as they should. Other tips:
- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. Refrigerators will keep foods cold for 2-4 hours if it is unopened. Full freezers will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours if the door remains closed. These times may vary depending on age of the unit, condition of the seals, temperature setting and amount of food.
- Digital, dial, or instant-read food thermometer and appliance thermometers will help you know if the food is at a safe temperature.
- Before eating perishable refrigerated foods (milk, cheeses, eggs, meats, fish, or poultry) be sure to check their temperature. Foods that are 41º F or below can be eaten and are considered safe. Foods that are above 41ºF for more than 2 hours must be discarded. Do Not Eat. Don’t trust your sense of smell. Food may be unsafe even if it doesn’t smell bad.
- Raw poultry, fish, meats and eggs should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 ºF.
- Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still 41º F or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals or is below 41º F. You have to evaluate each food item separately. Partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but the food will remain safe to eat.
Air quality forecasts are provided by Clean Air Partners, a nonprofit partnership chartered by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, of which Loudoun County is a member, and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. When temperatures are warmer, the region can expect to experience Code Orange and Code Red air quality days (days that surpass the national standard level for safe or healthy air quality).