Tips for staying safe during Washington’s heat wave

Courtesy of weather.com

Courtesy of weather.com

The Puget Sound region could see record breaking temperatures this week as a heat wave hits Washington.

Monday’s temperatures reached the high 80s. The record high for the Seattle-Tacoma area for June 21 is 89 degrees, which occurred in 1992.

Temperatures in King County are expected to hover around the high 70s to low 80s on Tuesday and Wednesday before climbing to an expected high of 89 degrees on Friday. Saturday and Sunday both have highs around 97 degrees, which would break the Seattle-Tacoma area record of 92 and 95 degrees, respectively.

The extreme heat poses several risks to public health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High temperatures can lead to heatstroke, a potentially life-threatening condition in which a person’s body cannot regulate its temperature, according to the CDC. Young children, the elderly, low-income populations and outdoor workers have a higher risk of getting a heat-related illness such as heatstroke.

Staying hydrated and avoiding demanding physical activities during the heat wave will help to prevent heatstroke and similar conditions.

“Bring a little extra water and some things to drink when you go out, that’s really critical,” said UW Medicine Pediatrics Professor Dr. Beth Ebel. “You evaporate a lot of your water and that can be, especially if it’s sunny, it’s hard to gauge if you’ve been drinking enough.”

The rise in temperature will likely result in more people going to the area’s lakes, rivers and beaches to cool off and enjoy nature. This poses an additional risk to public safety because each year dozens of people drown in Washington, according to the Department of Health. The easiest and most effective way to prevent drowning is to wear a life jacket, said Ebel.

“Drowning is quiet and it happens without somebody noticing. It really is a terrible tragedy,” Ebel said. “So, if you’re not that competent of a swimmer, or for everyone, even the most competent swimmer who’s in open water, just wear it, it makes it pretty easy.”

Drink plenty of water this week and if you plan on going out for a beach day, pack a life jacket. To learn more about how to stay safe in extreme heat, click here.




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