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Feeling hot, hot, hot

Virginia has seen an unusually early heat wave the past couple of weeks, seeing temperatures in May typically reserved for July and August.

The extreme heat can cause a hit not only to the health but also to the electric bills of local residents. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has these tips to help people survive the heat waves, both physically and financially.

During extreme heat:

  • Stay indoors, in air-conditioning, as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. If you must work during extreme heat, take frequent breaks.
  • Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids. Sports drinks can help replace the salt and minerals you lose in perspiration.
  • Eat well-balanced, light and regular meals.

How to prepare your home to keep yourself safe and save power:

  • Prepare for a heat wave by checking to see if your home’s cooling system is working properly.
  • Consider scheduling routine maintenance for your cooling system.
  • Ensure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and windows to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades or awnings.
  • Outdoor awnings can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.

If you’re comfortable indoors during a heat wave, remember that others may not be. Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have working air conditioning, and invite them to your place if you are able.

During many heat waves, the city encourages citizens without air conditioning to use public buildings as cooling centers during the day. Be sure to avail yourself of the libraries and other locations if you need them.