The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued an Excessive Heat Warning, which is in effect from 2 PM Tuesday to 9 PM PDT Friday. Unusually hot weather is forecast to begin Tuesday and continue through Friday. High temperatures will probably be within 5 degrees of the all-time record high, around the upper 80s to mid 90s. Heat illnesses are possible with temperatures this hot. People engaged in outdoor activities should have access to plenty of beverages as well as places to get out of the direct sunlight.
This is a reminder from Public Health – Seattle & King County and its Health Care for the Homeless Network to be prepared during this current period of hot weather. Homeless people are at risk for heat emergencies for reasons such as: a lack of access to drinking water, overdressing, certain medical conditions and medications that can increase risk for dehydration, or the use of alcohol and street drugs which may cause a person to forget to drink water or to pass out in the sun.
Passed Out or Suffering from the Heat and Sun?
If a person appears passed out in hot weather, do not assume they are just sleeping or intoxicated, instead ask if they are ok and if they cannot respond call 911. People can become dehydrated rapidly in extremely hot weather and anyone “passed out,” lying in the sun or badly sunburned is medically at risk.
Water, Shade, Sun Protection
Many homeless people do not have ready access to water. For those that work with clients experiencing homelessness, it is recommended to have bottled water on hand to offer, if possible, as well as hats and sunscreen, if they can be provided. Suggesting moving into shaded areas may also help someone with sun or heat exposure.
To stay safe in hot weather:
- Drink plenty of fluids and stay cool in air-conditioned buildings such as public libraries, senior centers & community centers.
- Never leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows rolled down.
- Signs of heat-related illness may vary but can include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can cause death or permanent disability unless treated immediately.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
-an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
-red, hot, and dry skin
-rapid, strong pulse
-nausea, confusion and unconsciousness
King County 2-1-1 maintains a list of cooling centers which include libraries, community centers and parks with wading pools and/or spray parks found here.
For more information on staying cool in hot weather, including who is most at risk from heat-related injuries and illnesses, and warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be found at the Public Health – Seattle & King County Hot Weather, How to Stay Cool and Safe web page.
Fliers are available in several languages here.