Eastern Wake deals with early summer heat

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJune 20, 2014 

  • Know the signs of heat illness

    Heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke, have several signs that should prompt caretakers to seek medical attention. State Health Director Robin Gary Cummings said residents should try to limit outdoor activity, especially during the afternoon, when temperatures peak. If it can’t be avoided, the following signs are markers that it may be time to head indoors:

    Muscle cramps

    Fatigue, weakness

    Dizziness, fainting

    Headache

    Nausea or vomiting

    Source: N.C. Department of Health

— As temperatures approached 100 degrees last week, state agencies issued warnings as locals figured out the best ways to stay cool during the early summer heat.

The North Carolina Department of Public Health advises people to reduce the amount of time they spend outside, a piece of advice Alison Quinton of Youngsville tries to follow.

With three children – Clay, 10, Jake, 7 and Hannah, 6 – it's hard to keep them all inside, especially because Clay and Jake play baseball. But she said if it gets too hot, she tries to bring recreation inside.

Even with that, she said she makes sure that she has “tons of water” for them to drink.

And on days when there is no baseball, Quinton tries to take her children to activities that will help them stay cool, like swimming at the Zebulon Country Club pool.

The Quintons aren't the only ones who have that idea, said the club's pool manager Anna Chambers.

Chambers is at the pool four to six hours a day and said most people begin coming in to beat the heat right after lunch time.

“I've seen more people this year because of the weather, but it depends on the heat in the morning,” she said.

Chambers also doubles as a lifeguard, which makes her attuned to some ailments caused by heat.

She said heat stroke is always a concern and sunburn isn't the only burning pool-goers should worry about it. Chambers said people who don't wear shoes on the concrete pool deck may find that the bottoms of their feet burn.

And even though it is rarely severe, she said it does prompt people to run, which is against the rules at most pools, including Zebulon Country Club's.

For herself, Chambers always keeps water nearby and uses sunscreen. When there are enough children, though, she said staff takes staying cool to another level by planning water balloon fights.

High temps hit the whole state

Staying cool while outside is a priority, since according to the NC Department of Health, there were 95 heat-related incidents in emergency rooms between June 8 and 14.

In its 2014 heat report, which is published online, the department looks through emergency room documents to identify any incident mentioning heat. The department said it often yields results that are less than the number of people who actually suffer heat-related illnesses.

Usually, the report said, the temperature was about 92 degrees when someone needed medical attention.

The report also said most heat ailments came on the heels of four common activities: working outside, getting too hot at work, exercising and this month, the U.S. Open was also a common place where heat-related illnesses happened.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services also warned residents of some vulnerable populations, like older people to take extra precautions against staying out in the heat.

The N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services also encourages extra attention to older neighbors and family members to make sure they are not affected by the heat.

The National Weather Service issued a statement saying temperatures in the mid- and upper-90s combined with humidity will create heat indexes of almost 100 degrees.

Wednesday's hot weather also marked the beginning of a few days of possible thunderstorms, marked by heavy winds and large hail, the National Weather Service said.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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