Stay cautious in scorching heat
This past weekend’s heat was brutal, with some areas in Charles County reaching temperatures in the upper 90s (and, with the humidity, feeling far worse than that). Although forecasters now call for a bit more rain, this week’s temperatures aren’t much better.
We hope most people are able to stay indoors as often as possible, yet we understand some make their living outside, exposed to the elements. If you must be outdoors, here are some tips:
• Stay out of the sun and wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
• Drink plenty of fluids, but water is best. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar, as these can leave you dehydrated.
• Check on elderly relatives and neighbors. Heat can affect anyone, but most at risk are the elderly, along with those with underlying health problems and the very young. • And speaking of the very young, never leave children — or pets — in parked cars. Temperatures can rise to 130 degrees inside vehicles in only a few minutes, even with the windows rolled down. It’s a terrifying, tragic scenario that’s even happened right here in Southern Maryland: Mom or Dad gets caught up in the workday ins and outs and forgets there’s a sleeping baby in the back seat. Please stay alert, keep baby in mind, and don’t hesitate to notify authorities if you see a child or pet left alone inside a parking lot vehicle on a hot summer day.
• If possible, stay in an air-conditioned room or building during the hottest part of the day. Charles County government offers some help with that. Residents may go to one of the following locations which will be open during regular business hours: Capital Clubhouse, 3033 Waldorf Market Place, Waldorf; Richard R. Clark Senior Center, 1210 Charles St., La Plata; Nanjemoy Community Center, 4375 Port Tobacco Road, Nanjemoy; Department of Community Services, 8190 Port Tobacco Road, Port Tobacco; Charles County Public Libraries— La Plata Branch, 2 Garrett Ave., La Plata; P.D. Brown Memorial Branch, 50 Village St., Waldorf; Potomac Branch, 3225 Ruth B. Swan Drive, Indian Head; Waldorf West Library, 10405 O’Donnell Place, Waldorf; Outdoor pools — La Plata High School, 6035 Radio Station Road, La Plata; Thomas Stone High School, 3785 Leonardtown Road, Waldorf; McDonough High School, 7165 Marshall Corner Road, Pomfret; Indoor pools — Donald M. Wade Aquatic Center at St. Charles High School, 5305 Piney Church Road, Waldorf; North Point High School, 2500 Davis Road, Waldorf; and Lackey High School, 3000 Chicamuxen Road, Indian Head.
• Know the symptoms of an illness brought on by heat: heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, nausea, headaches and a weak but rapid pulse. Anyone exhibiting these symptoms should find immediate shade, drink water slowly and make sure there is good ventilation. If symptoms are severe, seek medical care.
It may have taken longer than normal for summer’s swelter to kick in this year, but there’s no doubt it’s here in full swing now. We urge residents to heed these emergency management tips and enjoy the season safely.