Beating the heat
Published 10:56 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The heat in Suffolk is truly on, with residents advised to leave outdoor activities to cooler times of the day as heat index values reach between 100 and 104 degrees through Saturday.
The National Weather Service includes South Hampton Roads in a large swath of Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina where actual temperatures in the 90s will feel like a significant understatement.
Meanwhile, the Virginia Department of Health says one of the most important precautions for extreme heat is scheduling and rescheduling activities and outdoor work for times when the heat isn’t as bad.
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In the summer, that’s before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., when sunlight exposure isn’t as strong.
Other tips from the department include keeping cool in air-conditioned places indoors, and taking a cool shower or bath.
Those without air conditioning at home can visit the mall or local library, or even a friend with air conditioning.
“Spending at least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly reduces the risk of heat-related illnesses,” the department states.
“When temperatures reach the upper 90s or above, a fan may not prevent heat-related illness.”
At a new home under construction on Elderberry Road in North Suffolk Wednesday, Hondurans Ewin Pavon, Nelson Pavon and Saun Burgos were at least lucky enough to be working in the shade.
Nelson Pavon said they manage the heat by drinking lots of water. “We always have water with us,” he said.
The department recommends two to four glasses of cool fluids every hour, and suggests that fruit juice or a sports beverage can help replace salt and minerals sweated out.
Those on a fluid-restricted diet or medication, or a low-salt diet, should first consult their doctor, however.
Nearby at Kempton Park Pool, Suzanne Davis was in the water with her children, Clay, 2, and Samantha, 3.
The decision to hit the water was a combination of “hot weather and crazy kids in the house making a mess,” Davis said.
“We’re here almost every day.”
During the heat, the department also advises:
- Avoiding sunburn, which limits the body’s ability to keep cool, and wearing light clothing. Use high-SPF sunscreen and wear a hat.
- Limiting physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
- Never leaving children or pets in cars, where temperatures can reach more than 150 degrees quickly.
- Letting someone know your plans if you’re working outside — a heat-related illness could result in confusion or loss of consciousness.
- Checking on the elderly and neighbors without air conditioning.
For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov.