IT’S SOOOO HOT...

Chat­tanooga area braces for ex­treme heat this week

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF AND WIRE RE­PORTS

Fore­cast­ers are warn­ing of scorch­ing heat this week across a wide stretch of the U.S. South and Mid­west, where it will feel as high as 117 de­grees in some spots.

Parts of 13 states were un­der heat ad­vi­sories Mon­day, in­clud­ing Ten­nessee, Ge­or­gia and Alabama, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice re­ported. Here’s what you need to know:

JUST HOW HOT WILL IT BE?

While it won’t be as hot here as it will be in Arkansas and Ok­la­homa — which were ex­pected to have heat in­dexes higher than 115 — the Chat­tanooga re­gion is go­ing to see some ex­treme tem­per­a­tures.

Like Mon­day, heat and hu­mid­ity again will make for dan­ger­ous heat in­dexes on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s high in the Chat­tanooga area is ex­pected to be in the mid- to up­per 90s with a heat in­dex of 102106, ac­cord­ing to WRCB-TV Chan­nel 3 Chief Me­te­o­rol­o­gist Paul Barys.

How­ever, an ap­proach­ing cool front should help ease the in­tense heat by

Wed­nes­day.

“The Storm Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter says some of th­ese storms could turn se­vere with winds to 60 mph Tuesday night,” Barys said Mon­day on his weather blog. “The best chance will be north of Chat­tanooga.”

Un­til then, “if you’re go­ing out in the sum­mer, pre­pare for the worst,”said Gary Chate­lain, a Na­tional Weather Ser­vice me­te­o­rol­o­gist based in Shreve­port, Louisiana, said.

Heat ex­haus­tion and heat stroke are among the main threats. Seniors and chil­dren are es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble.

“You are more likely to de­velop a heat ill­ness quicker in this type of weather, when it’s re­ally hu­mid and hot,” Chate­lain said.

WHAT IS HEAT STROKE?

Heat stroke, a se­ri­ous ill­ness that can cause death or per­ma­nent dis­abil­ity, oc­curs when the body be­comes un­able to con­trol its tem­per­a­ture due to over­heat­ing. Symp­toms in­clude fever, red skin, trou­ble sweat­ing, el­e­vated pulse, headache, dizzi­ness, nau­sea, con­fu­sion and faint­ing.

Home In­stead Se­nior Care, a home-care ser­vice based on Bonny Oaks Drive, of­fers th­ese tips to avoid get­ting heat stroke or other heatre­lated ill­ness:

› Take pre­ven­tive health mea­sures, like pre­par­ing for sum­mer heat ex­po­sure by choos­ing pro­tec­tive cloth­ing. The Mayo Clinic rec­om­mends wear­ing loose-fit­ting, light­weight cloth­ing to al­low the body to bet­ter cool it­self nat­u­rally. Adding a broad-brimmed hat or cap can also help keep in­ter­nal tem­per­a­tures low and pro­tect from sun­burn — a con­di­tion that height­ens the risk of heat stroke by less­en­ing the skin’s abil­ity to reg­u­late heat.

› Plan ahead to avoid stren­u­ous ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the hottest parts of the day. Many ac­tiv­i­ties such as run­ning er­rands or vis­it­ing friends and fam­ily mem­bers can be resched­uled for the morning or evening hours, when tem­per­a­tures are cooler and the sun’s rays are less di­rect. If the time can­not be ad­justed, stay hy­drated and rest fre­quently in a cool area to avoid the in­creased risk of over­heat­ing.

› Pay at­ten­tion to symp­toms of heatre­lated health prob­lems. The Univer­sity of Con­necti­cut found that older adults are the most sus­cep­ti­ble de­mo­graphic to de­hy­dra­tion due to re­duced kid­ney func­tion that oc­curs nat­u­rally as peo­ple age, as well as the fre­quent use of di­uret­ics of­ten taken for high blood pres­sure, ac­cord­ing to AARP. Be aware of mus­cle cramps, dizzi­ness, headaches, con­sti­pa­tion or im­paired mem­ory or con­cen­tra­tion func­tion. Also mon­i­tor for heat stroke, which can present it­self through high body tem­per­a­ture, con­fu­sion or slurred speech, flushed skin, rapid breath­ing and a headache.

› Take ac­tion to cool some­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing heat-re­lated symp­toms. Once a symp­tom is iden­ti­fied, im­me­di­ate ac­tion is crit­i­cal to treat the se­nior and pre­vent es­ca­la­tion in the re­ac­tion. The Mayo Clinic shares three steps: Get the per­son in the shade, in­doors and out of the heat

Re­move any ex­cess cloth­ing to help the body breathe

Cool the per­son with what­ever means avail­able (e.g. place a wet towel on the per­son’s head, neck or armpits or sub­merge the in­di­vid­ual in cool wa­ter)

› Mon­i­tor and/or as­sist with med­i­ca­tions. Some pre­scribed med­i­ca­tions may af­fect a se­nior’s nat­u­ral abil­ity to stay hy­drated and dis­si­pate heat. Talk with your se­nior and their doc­tor about any in­creased risks as­sumed by tak­ing th­ese types of med­i­ca­tions.

KEEP­ING VUL­NER­A­BLE POP­U­LA­TIONS SAFE

As the heat settles in, the Sal­va­tion Army is ex­tend­ing its hours for its day shel­ter on McCal­lie Av­enue.

It has an air­con­di­tioned space where peo­ple can go to get out of the heat. It also has a “hy­dra­tion sta­tion.”

At the East 28th Street lo­ca­tion, Sal­va­tion Army work­ers are dis­tribut­ing box fans and bot­tled wa­ter to low-in­come peo­ple. The swim­ming pool is also open there.

“When tem­per­a­tures get this high, it can be life-threat­en­ing,” said Sal­va­tion Army spokes­woman Kim­berly Ge­orge. “The Sal­va­tion Army wants to be avail­able to all dis­placed neigh­bors and low-in­come neigh­bors to help them beat the heat. But we can only do it with the com­mu­nity’s sup­port.”

The Sal­va­tion Army is ac­cept­ing mon­e­tary dona­tions and dona­tions of cases of wa­ter and new box fans.

At the Chat­tanooga Com­mu­nity Kitchen, which is open daily from 7 a.m.5 p.m., staff mem­bers are mak­ing sure they have plenty of bot­tled wa­ter, in­clud­ing some frozen. They also have a day­time cool­ing area.

“Hy­dra­tion is very im­por­tant, es­pe­cially for peo­ple that are try­ing to find jobs and hous­ing and walk­ing so much,” Com­mu­nity Kitchen CEO Jens Chris­tensen said, not­ing high tem­per­a­tures in­crease the num­ber of peo­ple stop­ping by the fa­cil­ity.

HOW BAD IS HEAT FOR PETS?

Just like hu­mans, hot weather pro­vides plenty of health risks for an­i­mals, and each year, house­hold pets die as a re­sult of heat­stroke.

The Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals of­fers th­ese tips for keep­ing furry friends safe from the heat:

› Give them plenty of fresh, clean wa­ter.

› Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun.

› Be care­ful not to over-ex­er­cise them.

› Keep them in­doors when it’s ex­tremely hot.

› Know the symp­toms of over­heat­ing in pets, which in­clude ex­ces­sive pant­ing or dif­fi­culty breath­ing, in­creased heart and res­pi­ra­tory rate, drool­ing, mild weak­ness, stu­por or even col­lapse. Symp­toms can also in­clude seizures, bloody di­ar­rhea and vomit along with an el­e­vated body tem­per­a­ture of more than 104 de­grees.

› An­i­mals with flat faces, like pugs and Per­sian cats, are more sus­cep­ti­ble to heat stroke since they can­not pant as ef­fec­tively. Th­ese pets, along with the el­derly, the over­weight, and those with heart or lung dis­eases, should be kept cool in air-con­di­tioned rooms as much as pos­si­ble.

› Never leave an­i­mals alone in a parked ve­hi­cle. Not only can it lead to fa­tal heat stroke, it is il­le­gal in sev­eral states. WWW.PERSIANRUG­TRADER.COM

STAFF PHOTO BY ERIN O. SMITH

Alexan­der Lang­don, 1, plays in the foun­tain at Coolidge Park on Mon­day. Alexan­der and his mom, who are from In­di­ana, were vis­it­ing Alexan­der’s grand­par­ents in Adairsvill­e, Ge­or­gia, and de­cided to make a day trip to Chat­tanooga for hik­ing and cool­ing off in the park.

STAFF PHOTO BY ERIN O. SMITH

A fam­ily stops by Bill’s Shaved Ice on Mon­day at Coolidge Park. The owner of Bill’s Shaved Ice, Bill Hen­der­son, said he sees the most cus­tomers when lo­cals brings their kids to the foun­tain to cool off. The heat in­dex Tuesday is fore­cast to be above 100.

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