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Protect yourself, others from heat-related illnesses during stretch of hot weather

Clark County Public Health officials urge residents to take precautions

VANCOUVER — Public Health officials are urging residents to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses during the stretch of hot weather this week.

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.

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

“Elderly people and young children are especially vulnerable during periods of intense or prolonged heat,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer. “We encourage everyone to avoid or limit physical activity outdoors, take shelter in air-conditioned buildings and drink plenty of fluids.”

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

  • 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 go 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 libraries, shopping malls and movie theaters. Additionally, the following cooling centers will be open this week:

Battle Ground:

Battle Ground Community Center, 912 E. Main St., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Vancouver:

  • Marshall Community Center, 1009 McLoughlin Blvd., 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday. More information: (360) 487-7100
  • Firstenburg Community Center, 700 N.E. 136th Ave.; 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. More information: (360) 487-7001.
  • Lobby of Firstenburg Tower at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, 400 N.E. Mother Joseph Place, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
  • Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday; noon to 5 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday. More information: (360) 487-7111

Washougal:

  • City of Washougal Municipal Complex, 1701 C St.
  • City Hall, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
  • Washougal Library, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Washougal Community Center, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 4-6 p.m. Friday.

Additional information on cooling centers is available at http://cresa911.org/2018/07/23/updated-hot-weather-information-and-cooling-centers.

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; and confusion.

If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1. Place the victim 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 cramps. Signs are heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, headache and vomiting. Drink nonalcoholic, cool beverages. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.

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