Dangerous temperatures expected, heat advisory in effect

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the Valley and all of Connecticut until 8 p.m. tonight. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-90s, with high humidity driving the heat index to well over 100 degrees.

The temperatures are expected to be high enough to cause heat exhaustion, muscle cramps and sunstroke. To reduce the risk, during outdoor work, the NWS recommends frequent rest and water breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool area.

Heat stroke is an emergency. Call 911. Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures, usually in conjunction with dehydration. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures. Other common symptoms include nausea, seizures, confusion, disorientation, and sometimes loss of consciousness or coma.

Symptoms of heat stroke

The hallmark symptom is body temperature over 105 degrees, but fainting may be the first symptom. According to WebMD other symptoms include:

• Throbbing headache

• Dizziness and light-headedness

• Lack of sweating despite the heat

• Red, hot, and dry skin

• Muscle weakness or cramps

• Nausea and vomiting

• Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak

• Rapid, shallow breathing

• Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering

• Seizures

• Unconsciousness

If you suspect that someone has a heat stroke, immediately call 911 or transport the person to a hospital. Any delay seeking medical help can be fatal.

While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, initiate first aid. Move the person to an air-conditioned environment — or at least a cool, shady area — and remove any unnecessary clothing.

If possible, take the person’s core body temperature and initiate first aid to cool it to 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If no thermometers are available, don’t hesitate to initiate first aid.

Cooling strategies

Fan air over the patient while wetting his or her skin with water from a sponge or garden hose.

Apply ice packs to the patient’s armpits, groin, neck, and back. Because these areas are rich with blood vessels close to the skin, cooling them may reduce body temperature.

Immerse the patient in a shower or tub of cool water, or an ice bath.

If emergency response is delayed, call the hospital emergency room for additional instructions.