WASHINGTON (AP) -- A heat wave is traveling across the mid-Atlantic region and health officials are reminding people to remain cool and hydrated to avoid medical problems.
According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, there were 10 heat-related deaths in Virginia last year.
“According to our statistics, almost 31 percent of the hyperthermia cases, which were related to extreme heat, involved individuals who were engaging in outside activity such as gardening,” said Dr. Henry Kurban, director of the Eastern Shore Health District. “26 percent of the hyperthermia cases were individuals who were inside without air conditioning.”
Emergency officials suggest limiting time outdoors as the temperature rises from late morning Wednesday to the afternoon. In the summer, sunlight exposure is greatest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
They also warn against leaving children or pets in cars because temperatures inside a car can reach more than 150 degrees quickly, resulting in heat stroke and death.
In James City County, a cooling center is open in the Rec Center at 5301 Longhill Rd. The Center is open Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday, 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, 1-6 p.m.
Temperatures are expected to start dropping on Friday.
BEATING THE HEAT:
Keep cool in an air-conditioned area. Take a cool shower or a bath. Consider a trip to the mall or a library or visit a friend with air conditioning. Spending at least two hours per day in air conditioning significantly reduces the number of heat-related illnesses. When temperatures reach the upper 90s or above, a fan may not prevent heat-related illness.
Drink plenty of fluids (2-4 glasses of cool fluids each hour.) To replace salt and minerals lost from sweating, drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or when you have to work outside. However, talk to your doctor first if you’re on a fluid-restricted diet or medications, or on a low-salt diet.
Avoid sunburn and wear light clothing. Sunburn limits your body’s ability to keep itself cool and causes loss of body fluids. Use sunscreen with a higher SPF. Lighter-weight clothing that is loose fitting and light colored is more comfortable during extreme temperatures. Use a hat to keep the head cool.
Give your body a break as the heat wave can be stressful on your body. Limit physical activity until your body adjusts to the heat.
Use the “buddy system” if you’re working outside. If you’re working outside and suffer a heat-related illness, you could become confused or could lose consciousness. Therefore, Make sure someone else knows of you plans.