PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A “dangerous heat wave” is moving through Pennsylvania this weekend and health officials are urging people to follow simple steps to keep themselves and loved ones safe from potentially deadly heat-related illnesses.
No matter what you end up doing in this heat, whether it’s running, biking or kayaking, doctors say it’s important to be careful, especially since we are approaching a 90 degree stretch as we head into the weekend.
“Obviously, when it’s more sustained days at a time, especially when these temperatures progress in the night, people just never recover,” Dr. Rade Vukmir, an emergency physician at Allegheny General Hospital, said.
This is why being careful now is key, especially when it comes to kids, the elderly and your pets. Drinking plenty of water and heading to cool places if you don’t have air conditioning is important.
“The City of Pittsburgh does have cooling stations, and a very well established regional… you know, it’s actually through the healthy living centers,” Dr. Vukmir said.
Even the local pool is a great way to cool down. North Park Pool was packed Friday with kids from various summer camps from around the city.
“We come out to the pool and get a little wet, lay on towel in the shade,” Carl Parker, camp counselor with the Shadyside Boys and Girls Club, said.
Parker says they pull the kids out halfway through the day to keep them hydrated in the heat.
At a local park nearby, several kids say they know how to have fun and keep cool at the same time.
“Drinking water bottles and getting in the shade,” 7-year-old Ellis Campbell, of Butler, said.
“Drinking a lot of water, and when I get dehydrated, just taking a break,” 10-year-old Emily Campbell, of Butler, said.
Doctors say there are signs you can look out for if you notice someone starting to get affected by the heat.
“They appear dry, start to get confused, decrease oral intake of fluids. People we are really concerned about,” Dr. Vukmir said.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, all Pennsylvanians are urged to follow these safety tips to avoid heat-related illnesses:
• Drink plenty of water and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids;
• Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar, as they can cause dehydration (loss of body fluids);
• Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible – this is the best way to protect against heat-related illness and death;
• If you must be outside in the heat, limit activity to morning and evening hours, and try to rest often in shady areas;
• Dress in light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses – and use a sunscreen of SPF15 or higher;
• Check on those who might be more at risk from high temperatures like infants, children, or older individuals; and
• Never leave your children or pets inside vehicles.
The most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
For more information on how to get by safely during these hot days, visit click here or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.