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Western Wash. Gets Heat Advisory, Officials Offer Tips For Staying Cool

Ruby de Luna
08/15/2012

Health officials are urging people to take steps to stay cool during the hot weather. Forecasters have issued a heat advisory for the next few days. Temperatures are expected to peak in the low 90s in Western Washington. KUOW's Ruby de Luna reports young children, elderly people and those with chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable.

TRANSCRIPT

Health officials say the heat could cause health problems because the human body is not able to cool off fast enough.

The heat spell also causes smog build up. That could trigger medical problems for more than half a million people in Washington who have asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Dr. Maxine Hayes is the State Health Officer for Washington Department of Health:

Hayes: "About 9 percent of them are adults, but anywhere between 7 and 10 percent are children in school. And then we have 16 percent of our seniors have heart disease. So that's a lot of people who could get into trouble."

Dr. Hayes says extreme heat doesn't happen often in the region, so it's easy to forget the signs of heat exhaustion.

Hayes: "Dizziness, you could have headaches, muscle cramps and nausea. So these individuals should seek medical attention immediately if after a few minutes of rest and drinking a cool beverage slowly you don't feel better."

Hayes says avoid drinks that are sugary, or ones that have caffeine or alcohol — they're dehydrating. And if possible, try to stay cool in air conditioned places.

Health officials also suggest checking on elderly neighbors and relatives to make sure they're taking steps to stay cool, too.

I'm Ruby de Luna, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

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