• 82°

Heat advisory in place today

A summer of record-setting heat continues.

The National Weather Service office in Wakefield, Va. has put a heat advisory in effect from 12 noon today (Wednesday) to 7 p.m. this evening.

Afternoon temperatures are expected in the upper 90s to near 100 degrees will combine with humid conditions to produce heat index values from 105 to 107 degrees this afternoon.

A heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible.

Weather Service officials recommend that individuals need to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, if possible, and, if outdoors, take frequent breaks in a shaded area.

It is also advisable to check up on relatives and neighbors, especially those who are elderly.

According to WebMD.com, prolonged or intense exposure to hot temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke (also known as sun stroke). As your body works to cool itself under extreme or prolonged heat, blood rushes to the surface of your skin. As a result, less blood reaches your brain, muscles, and other organs. This can interfere with both your physical strength and your mental capacity, leading, in some cases, to serious danger.

By reducing excessive exposure to high temperatures and taking other precautionary steps, most heat-related illnesses can be avoided. Those who work in hot or humid environments – such as manufacturing plants, bakeries, or construction sites during summer months – are most at risk. However, even long, hot afternoons at the beach can pose problems if warning signs are ignored.

With prompt treatment, most people recover completely from heat illness. However, heat stroke can be deadly if not properly managed.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

Fatigue

Nausea

Headaches

Excessive thirst

Muscle aches and cramps

Weakness

Confusion or anxiety

Drenching sweats, often accompanied by cold, clammy skin.

Slowed or weakened heartbeat.

Dizziness

Fainting

Agitation

Heat stroke can occur suddenly, without any symptoms of heat exhaustion. If a person is experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, obtain medical care immediately. Any delay could be fatal. You should seek emergency medical care for anyone who has been in the heat and who has the following symptoms:

Confusion, anxiety or loss of consciousness;

Very rapid or dramatically slowed heartbeat;

Rapid rise in body temperature that reaches 104 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit;

Either drenching sweats accompanied by cold, clammy skin (which may indicate heat exhaustion); or a marked decrease in sweating accompanied by hot, flushed, dry skin (which may indicate heat stroke); and

Convulsions.