May 27, 2024

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Hot weather in the DMV: How to stay safe

4 min read

The DC region could see near-record highs Monday. Here are some hot weather reminders.

WASHINGTON — The heat is on Monday. It will likely be the hottest day of the year so far with highs near 90 degrees. As temperatures climb, here are some reminders to keep yourself, your kids and your pets safe.

HOW TO: Stay Safe

There are several steps you can take to make sure you are staying safe during extreme temperatures:

  • Staying indoors when possible: find places in the shade or with air conditioning to seek relief from the heat.
  • Checking in on your neighbors: young children, the elderly, and those with access and functional needs are the most vulnerable in our community.   
  • Drinking plenty of fluids: increase your fluid intake but don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine, or large amounts of sugar.   
  • Keeping pets indoors: walk pets early in the morning, give pets plenty of water and do not leave pets in vehicles, which can reach dangerous temperatures within 10 minutes. For all animal emergencies, including animals left outside in extreme temperatures or in vehicles, please call the Humane Rescue Alliance at (202) 723-5730.   
  • Wearing appropriate clothing and sunscreen: pick lightweight, loose fitting, light-colored clothing, and wide brimmed hats.

SYMPTOMS: Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion 

As temperatures increase, so do the odds of experiencing a heat-related illness. It is important to know the symptoms, especially for high-risk grounds such as people under the age of 5 or over the age of 65. People with chronic illnesses, those taking certain medications, and those exercising outdoors are also high risk.

  • Hot, red or dry skin
  • High body temperature of 103 or higher
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Losing consciousness (coma)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea or cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Weakness or confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Pale or clammy skin
  • Muscle cramping
  • Dark-colored urine

Heat stroke can come on suddenly, a person can go from feeling well to seriously ill within minutes. If you think someone if experiencing a heat-related illness, call 911. 

How to keep your kids safe

About 40 children a year die from heatstroke, either because they were left or became trapped in a car. That’s about one child every 10 days killed in a hot car.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of all hot car deaths happen because someone forgets a child in a car. 

Here are some tips to keep your child safe, courtesy of the NHTSA.

Parents and caregivers, get in the habit of always checking the back seat of your car before locking the doors.

Hot car deaths don’t just happen when a child is forgotten. The second leading cause —  25% — of such deaths are children getting into unattended vehicles. Get in the habit of always locking your car doors and trunk, year-round. The temperature inside a car can reach over 115 degrees when the outside temperature is just 70 degrees.

Never leave a child alone

Never leave a child alone in a parked car. Rolling windows down or parking in the shade does little to change the interior temperature of the vehicle. A child’s body temperature can rise three to five times faster than an adult’s.

How to keep your pets safe

It’s fun to bring our pets with us to get involved in some summer fun, but our furry friends are at much higher risk of heat-related illness on these hot days.

The ASPCA lists signs of heatstroke in pets, including:

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing 
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate 
  • Drooling
  • Mild weakness 
  • Stupor 
  • Collapse

It is also important to not leave your pet in the car in the heat, even in the shade or with the windows cracked. 

Additionally, grooming habits should be adjusted for the summer. Brush out excess fluff and trim extra length that could be packing in the heat — and to help manage shedding around the house. But our experts say a full summer shave could lead to sunburn, even overheating.

Fire Hydrant Safety:  

While it may be hot, D.C. officials are reminding residents that unauthorized use of fire hydrants is unlawful, dangerous, and damaging. To report a fire hydrant that has been tampered with, call 311. 

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2024-04-29 15:25:26

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