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Hot temps arrive

Officials warn residents, visitors to exercise caution

A mother and son rollick in the Lake Superior surf to keep cool during a recent hot spell. Officials suggest today might be a good day to take a dip for the same reason. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; Michigan Public Service Commission; and Michigan State Police advise Michigan residents to take precautions to keep themselves safe during forecasted high heat and humidity this week. 

“This week will be very hot, and I encourage everyone to review the tips below to stay cool. Let’s work together to support each other through this heat wave,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a press release.

The National Weather Service is expecting hot and humid conditions for at least three to six days this week. In some areas, every day through Sunday could have high temperatures in the 90s with heat index values near and above 100 degrees.

When it is very hot, there is an increased risk of heat-related illness including heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If not treated, heat exhaustion can worsen and cause heatstroke or death.

Humidity can make temperatures feel even hotter. Hot temperatures plus high humidity are more dangerous because these conditions make it harder for the body to sweat and cool itself down. In addition to the daily temperature, residents should pay attention to the daily heat index, which gives a more accurate picture of how hot it feels outside.

To stay healthy when it is hot, residents are encouraged to:

≤ Drink more fluids and avoid liquids with large amounts of sugar or alcohol.

≤ Limit outdoor activities to when it is coolest in the morning and evening.

≤ Spend time indoors in air conditioning. 

≤ Check to make sure your air conditioner filters are clean and the unit is working properly. 

≤ Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.

≤ Wear sunscreen, as sunburn affects a body’s ability to cool down.

≤ Check on neighbors and relatives to determine if they need assistance.

≤ Never leave children or pets unattended in cars, even with the windows cracked.

“Michigan residents can take steps to protect themselves from heat exhaustion and heatstroke,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive of the state of Michigan. “Young children, older adults and those who have medical conditions are at increased risk for heat-related illness, so be sure to check frequently on them and others in your community who may need additional assistance. Limit time in heat, stay hydrated, avoid direct sunlight and find somewhere with air conditioning or take cool showers. Call 211 or contact your local health department to locate a cooling center in your area.”

Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature and can result in death if not treated promptly.  If you suspect someone has heatstroke, call 911 for immediate medical help and try to cool the person down by moving to a cooler environment and using cool cloths or a cool bath. 

Both heat exhaustion and heatstroke are forms of heat-related illness. Signs of heat-related illness vary, but may include:

≤ Heavy sweating.

≤ Muscle cramps.

≤ Weakness.

≤ Confusion.

≤ Slurred speech.

≤ Dizziness.

≤ Headache.

≤ Nausea.

≤ Vomiting.

≤ Fainting.

≤ High body temperature (above 103 degrees).

≤ Tiredness.

Protect Your Community

While anyone’s health can be impacted, those most at risk includes those without access to cooling or adequate hydration. Additional high-risk groups include pregnant people, older people, children, people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease, those on certain medications such as certain antipsychotics, certain antidepressants and diuretics, people who live alone, and those who may be more exposed to heat, including outdoor workers, low-income individuals and people who exercise outside. 

“High heat and humidity can put additional stress on the body, which could potentially be life-threatening,” said Col. James F. Grady II, director of the Michigan State Police. “We’re asking people to drink plenty of water, check on neighbors and never leave anyone or an animal in an unattended vehicle.”

Air Quality

EGLE urges Michiganders to stay informed when air quality advisories or alerts are issued. Ozone, one of the most widespread pollutants in America, is a dangerous smog caused by emissions from mobile and stationary sources. It’s also most common during warmer temperatures.

“High temperatures outside are sometimes linked to elevated levels of pollutants like ozone. It is important for Michiganders to be aware when air quality triggers alerts,” said Phil Roos, EGLE director. “People can help protect themselves and reduce pollutants by staying informed of changing air quality conditions. We urge everyone to become familiar with our notification system and pay attention to air quality alerts to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The Air Quality Index, which can be found on the AirNow website, is a color-coded way for residents to see what the levels of some types of air pollution are in their area. Higher AQI values indicate there is a higher concentration of pollutants in the air and a need for Michiganders to take steps to protect their health. Residents can also sign up for the EnviroFlash System. This subscriber system allows you to get advisories and alerts for the area you choose and send them directly to your email or through a text message.

During a poor air quality day, take action to protect your health based on the AQI Index. Some recommendations include:

≤ Reduce the time you are active outdoors.

≤ Consider less intense activities that require less physical exertion.

≤ If ozone levels are unhealthy, schedule outdoor activities for the morning or evening when ozone levels are usually lower.

≤ For those without access to air conditioning, call 211 or contact your local health department to find out if there is a cooling center nearby.

You can also spend some time at an air-conditioned store, shopping mall or other public building.

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