Take care outside today

Published 10:05 pm Friday, July 21, 2017

We’re pretty sure you don’t need us to tell you how hot it is outside today, but when a sailor who had spent a tour in the Middle East complained to us on Friday about this Tidewater heat wave, it occurred to us that some folks new to the area might be just realizing the power of our special combination of desert heat and tropical humidity.

Welcome to summer in Hampton Roads. Now go back inside and crank up the air conditioner.

Today is expected to be the hottest day of the year, and the heat index — that measurement that combines actual temperature with moisture in the air to quantify the misery level — is forecast to reach 110 degrees or so.

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You can find videos on YouTube of people frying eggs on the sidewalk or baking brownies on the dashboards of their cars. We’d recommend watching them from a nice 72-degree living room, along with a cold glass of lemonade.

Seriously, though, if you don’t have to be outside today, don’t go out. Vacuum the house. Sort through your sock drawer for lonely stragglers without their mates. Cue up an old Carol Burnett video, or engage your own family in a ruthless game of “Sorry.” You can cut the grass another day. The neighbors will understand.

But if you must venture out today, please be careful. Get plenty of fluids, and skip the caffeinated or alcoholic drinks while you’re out. Dehydration is no joke.

And neither are heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include faintness or dizziness, nausea or vomiting, heavy sweating, cold and clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, pale or flushed face, muscle cramps, headache and weakness.

In heat stroke, the body temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Those affected may have an altered mental state or behavior, rapid breathing, headache, seizures, flushed skin and racing heart rate.

For heat exhaustion, move the person out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place, remove excess clothing, have them drink cool water and spray or sponge them with cool water. For heat stroke, call 911 and get the person indoors, while waiting for emergency personnel. Remove excess clothing and cool them with whatever means available.

And whatever you do, please do not leave your dogs or children in your vehicle. It takes only a few minutes for the interior of a car to heat up to deadly temperatures.

Be careful today. And remember that soon enough we’ll all be complaining about how cold it is. Ahhhhh….