This weekend, temperatures in DC will soar to over 100 degrees, with some areas forecast to be over 110 degrees. The extreme heat has prompted the city to enact its heat emergency plan to mediate the effects of the weather. The DC City Government advises people to be cautious of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. The high temperatures combined with the summer humidity create conditions that are dangerous for those who are outside too long and don’t stay properly hydrated. In order to beat the heat, the city is offering several options for those in need of relief:
- Cooling centers in (DC Recreation Centers, DC Public Libraries, and Senior Wellness Centers) are available to the public for extended hours, as well as transportation to and from these facilities
- Certain outdoor pools will be open for extended hours (10am-9pm)
- Low-barrier shelters will be open 24/7
For more details about the city’s plan for the heat wave, here is a statement from Mayor’s office
Preventing Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Fighting dehydration and staying cool are the two best ways to deal with the heat wave and stay healthy. Here are some tips on how to do both:
- Drink plenty of water and carry a water bottle with you
- Avoid salty foods and replace with fruits and vegetables that contain a high water content.
- Wear light-colored, lightweight clothing
- Avoid being outdoors between 10am-3pm, when exposure to the sun is the most intense
- Limit soft drinks, alcohol, and caffeine
- Monitor urine color and amount. Limited, dark-colored urine indicates dehydration
- Limit physical activity outdoors during the day
How Dehydration Impacts Vulnerable Populations
Dehydration is a huge problem for the oldest and youngest among us. Research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health indicates that over half of United States children fail to consume enough water. Unfortunately, even mild dehydration can negatively impact kids’ cognitive functioning. In more serious cases, dehydration can cause extensive physical damage. According to a statistical brief from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, dehydration is the sixth most common factor in hospital admissions for children.
Like children, seniors regularly experience dehydration — but many are completely unaware of it, as the perception of thirst tends to diminish with age. The risk of dehydration also rises rapidly due to age-related changes in body composition. Persistent dehydration may prompt such issues as rapid heart rate or limited mobility.