Hot weather prompts health alerts as regional temps near records

Excessive heat forecast this week across southwest Ohio has prompted health officials to caution against prolonged outdoor activity, especially among those elderly and very young.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook and an excessive heat watch for more than a dozen counties in southwest Ohio as near-record temperatures are forecast with highs in the mid-90s.

Meanwhile, an Air Quality Alert is in effect through Monday due to potentially elevated air pollution levels.

The mix of high temperatures and humidity is expected to result in heat indices of between 100 and 105 °F Monday, and about 100 °F Tuesday through Thursday, according to the NWS in Wilmington.

The counties forecast to experience those conditions include Butler, Clark, Champaign, Greene, Hamilton, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren, according to the weather service.

In those same counties, the excessive heat watch runs from Monday through Friday evening, the weather service said.

The watch means a “prolonged period of dangerously hot conditions with heat index values around 100 possible,” according to the NWS.

Record high temperatures may be approached, but “We’re probably going to be a few degrees shy,” said Brian Coniglio, weather service meteorologist. “At least that’s what we’re looking at right now.”

Those most vulnerable include the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless and individuals with chronic medical conditions, according to health officials.

The Air Quality Alert means conditions are favorable for ground-level ozone, or smog, to form, according to the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and Regional Air Pollution Control Agency for Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble counties.

The Air Quality Index forecast for Monday is 105. Any reading of 101 or higher is considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” according to the agencies.

The elderly, children and anyone with respiratory diseases should cut back prolonged and heavy exertion.

Air quality issues can pose greater risks with those weakened immune systems, said Dan Suffoletto, public information manager of Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

“That causes breathing difficulties,” he said. “So, it would be people who have things like asthma, COPD, heavy smokers – that type of situation.”

With heat issues, anyone outdoors for extended periods would face greater risks, he said.

Health officials encourage residents to stay in air-conditioned buildings, limit outdoor activity, avoid direct sunlight, and wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

They also recommend drinking more water than usual, consuming two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside, and avoiding alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.


RECORD TEMPS

The following are record high temperatures for southwest Ohio this week:

DATE RECORD YEAR

•June 17 98 1944

•June 18 101 1944

•June 19 98 1994

•June 20 98 1994

•June 21 98 1988

•June 22 98 1988

•June 23 98 1899

Source: National Weather Service.

WATCH FOR SYMPTOMS

Heat Exhaustion

•Heavy sweating

•Weakness

•Skin cold, pale, and clammy

•Weak pulse

•Fainting and vomiting

Heat Stroke

•High body temperature (above 103°F)

•Hot, red, dry or moist skin

•Rapid and strong pulse

•Possible unconsciousness

Source: Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

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