Local

Heat, Humidity Taking A Toll

A woman in downtown Pittsburgh tries to stay hydrated in the scorching heat.  (Credit: KDKA)

A woman in downtown Pittsburgh tries to stay hydrated in the scorching heat. (Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Cool and wet is now the must have accessory.

Umbrellas are transforming into parasols and sidewalks sizzle like a steak on the griddle.

“It’s hot – nothing like water!” a woman downtown said.

Just another sweltering day or is it? Actually, the combination of high heat and humidity is becoming more lethal because temperatures are remaining elevated overnight. Early Friday morning, it was 81 degrees.

That means your body isn’t getting a break.

“So if there’s no relief at nighttime or early in the morning, the people who are prone to becoming more sick are much more likely to have that occur,” says UPMC’S Emergency Chief, Dr. Don Yealy.

More people must be paying attention to the hazardous heat warnings because hospital emergency departments are busy, but not swamped with heat-related cases.

At Baum Boulevard Automotive, owner Chuck Wichrowski will tell you that humans – especially older people – function a lot like your car in hot weather. If the temperature light comes on, your vehicle’s cooling system is becoming overwhelmed.

“So as a result you tend to overheat much faster in older cars and cause much more damage to your engine if it’s not tended to,” he explained.

People with outdoor jobs, like construction workers, chronic illnesses, those taking certain medications and the elderly are at higher risk.

“The elderly are probably our biggest exposed population that we’re seeing today,” Greg Porter, assistant EMS director, said.

Ross-West View EMS crews are seeing increasing call volumes, mainly for dehydration, heat exposure and breathing problems.

“From now until the temperature falls to a reasonable level yeah, we’ll keep our extra truck on to help us with the extra call volume,” Porter said.

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