The calendar may say September but the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory from noon to 7 p.m. today (Sept. 4) for much of the Northeastern United States, including Loudoun County.
With temperatures forecast in the mid-90s and high humidity creating dewpoints in the mid-70s, the heat index is expected to reach about 105 during the afternoon and early evening. People are advised of a strong potential this afternoon and evening of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Residents are advised to follow the following steps to prevent heat-related health problems.
- Stay hydrated. Begin drinking water before physical exertion and continue ingesting fluids throughout day.
- Avoid strenuous activities in the heat if possible or reschedule them to before noon or after sunset.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
- Take frequent breaks, to hydrate and cool down either in the shade or in air conditioning.
If you think you or someone else is suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 9-1-1.
Heat exhaustion can occur fairly quickly and with only a small amount of strenuous activity when heat advisories top 100. Possible heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:
- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
- Heavy sweating
- Faintness, dizziness or fatigue
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure upon standing
- Muscle cramps
Heat stroke can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Although heat stroke mainly affects people over age 50, it also takes a toll on healthy young athletes.
Heat stroke often occurs as a progression from milder heat-related illnesses such as cramps, fainting and heat exhaustion. But it can strike even if you have no previous signs of heat injury.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Throbbing headache.
- Dizziness and light-headedness
- Lack of sweating despite the heat
- Red, hot, and dry skin
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
- Rapid, shallow breathing