Public Health officials urge area residents to protect themselves from heat-related illness during stretch of hot weather

Temperatures are forecast to reach the upper 90s later this week and climb above 100 degrees on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

VANCOUVER – Clark County Public Health officials are urging residents to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses during the upcoming stretch of hot weather.

Temperatures are forecast to reach the upper 90s later this week and climb above 100 degrees on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The length of the hot spell, coupled with warm overnight temperatures that provide little relief from the heat, can create a risk to health and safety.

“We encourage everyone to avoid or limit physical activity outdoors, take shelter in air-conditioned buildings and drink plenty of fluids during this stretch of intense heat,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “We strongly recommend organizers of outdoor events consider rescheduling or canceling those events.”

Periods of intense or prolonged heat can lead to heat-related illness, even in young and healthy people. Elderly people, babies and young children, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at higher risk of developing heat-related illness. Public Health encourages people to regularly check on friends, family members and neighbors who may be at increased risk.

Here are some steps to take to prevent heat-related illness:

  • Avoid or limit physical activity outdoors.
  • Drink more water and other nonalcoholic fluids, regardless of your activity level.
  • Limit intake of drinks with caffeine, alcohol or lots of sugar.
  • Stay indoors, in an air-conditioned location, as much as possible.
  • Never leave a person, especially a young child, or a pet in a parked vehicle. Temperatures can rise rapidly in parked vehicles, even with the windows rolled down.
  • Fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Cool off in the shower or bath or move to an air-conditioned place.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.

If you need to be outside, take these precautions:

  • Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours when temperatures are cooler and drink two to four glasses of nonalcoholic fluids each hour.
  • Check on co-workers while working outdoors.
  • Rest often in shady areas.
  • Wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses; apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.

People can escape the heat by heading to public places with air conditioning, such as libraries and shopping malls. Some facilities may have restrictions on the number of people and length of time people can visit, as a result of COVID-19 preventive measures. Please bring a face covering and maintain physical distancing when visiting cooling centers.

Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) compiled the following list of cooling centers open during the upcoming extreme heat:

  • Battle Ground Community Center, 912 E Main St.
    • 3-8 p.m. Saturday-Monday
  • Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries
    • Battle Ground Community Library, 1207 SE Eighth Way: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday
    • Cascade Park Community Library, 600 NE 136th Ave., Vancouver: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday
    • La Center Community Library, 1411 NE Lockwood Creek Road: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday- Saturday and Monday, closed Sunday
    • Ridgefield Community Library, 210 N Main Ave.: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Monday, closed Sunday
    • Three Creeks Community Library, 800-C NE Tenney Road, Vancouver: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Monday, closed Sunday
    • Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St.: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7p.m. Monday
    • Washougal Community Library, 1661 C St.: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Monday, closed Sunday
    • Woodland Community Library, 770 Park St.: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-6 p.m. Friday and Monday; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday
  • Living Hope Church, 2711 NE Andresen Road, Vancouver
    • 2-7 p.m. Friday-Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. Monday
  • Ridgefield Administrative and Civic Center, 510 Pioneer St.
    • 12:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • St Joseph Catholic Church, 400 S Andresen Road, Vancouver
    • 3:30-8 p.m. Friday, Monday and Tuesday
    • 2-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Trinity Baptist Church, 6700 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver
    • Noon to 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday

Additional information about cooling centers is available on the CRESA website. Additional sites may be added.

Know the signs

Knowing the signs of heat illness is important. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Warning signs of heat stroke include:

  • body temperature above 103 degrees
  • red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
  • rapid pulse
  • throbbing headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • confusion

If you see someone experiencing signs of heat stroke, call 9-1-1. Place the person in distress in a bath or cool shower or spray the person with cool water from a garden hose. Do not give the person fluids to drink.

Less severe heat-related illnesses include heat exhaustion and muscle cra.m.ps. Signs of heat exhaustion are:

  • heavy sweating
  • paleness
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • vomiting

When experiencing heat exhaustion, cool the body by drinking non alcoholic, cool beverages, moving to an air-conditioned place, taking a cool (not cold) bath or shower, and wearing lightweight clothing. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.

Information provided by Clark County Public Health.

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