(Update: Adding video, comments from Jefferson County Public Health; Western Oregon records)
Forecasters, health officials advise steps to avoid heat-related illness
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The National Weather Service in Pendleton has issued an excessive heat warning for much of Central Oregon and other areas of the state that began Monday morning and continues until 11 p.m. Thursday, warning of “dangerously hot conditions, with temperatures up to 103 to 110" degrees expected.
Forecasters noted that the hottest temperatures are expected locally Tuesday afternoon, with temperatures over 100 degrees for most lower elevations of the region. Temperatures over 100 are also fairly certain for Wednesday and Thursday.
While no records were reported east of the Cascades Monday, seven cities in northwest Oregon broke heat records for August 14th, including Portland at 108 degrees, smashing the 102-degree record set in 2008. Troutdale baked at 110, nine degrees above its record, while Hillsboro and McMinnville hit 107, Salem 105 and Eugene 103. To the south, Medford was even hotter, hitting 111 degrees, three higher than the old record of 108, set in 1933.
In Madras, where it could hit 106 degrees Tuesday, Jefferson County Public Health said it has an air-conditioned room, water and some snacks for those who "need a cool place to stay and recharge for a couple of hours."
Jefferson County Public Health's Public Information Officer Tami Kepa'a, told us: "Today, we've already had about 15 people come through."
"We're here at 8 o'clock in the morning and we'll be here after 5 pm, it's possible until 7 o'clock," she told us. "We know that the main heat of the day is going to be 5 o'clock, so we want to make sure we manage that a little bit longer hours, so people are not out there in the heat of the day."
"We've got the St. Charles Medical Center across the parking lot, so we've got a lot of resources at our fingertips," Kepa'a added.
And don't forget the pets! A dog's body temperature is normally between 100 and 103 degrees.
That means temperatures over 100 degrees can quickly cause problems, even if they're just sitting outside in the sun. Veterinarians recommend providing plenty of shade and AC.
Other areas of the region are under a heat advisory, for temperatures up to 100 degrees.
If needed, Deschutes County Health Services recommends people access public spaces such as libraries, grocery stores, and indoor shopping areas to stay out of the heat. Here's a list of cooling centers and their hours around Deschutes County.
“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors,” the NWS said. “Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.”
Deschutes County health officials noted that Central Oregon could experience more poor air quality over the next several days, due to growing wildfires, although the Oregon DEQ allowed the county's air quality advisory to expire on Sunday.
Officials said it is important to stay informed about forecast temperatures and air quality. Check current air quality conditions and learn more about how to protect yourself during periods of smoke on the Oregon Smoke Information Blog.
As temperatures increase, so do heat-related illnesses. Deschutes County Public Health suggests the following strategies to stay healthy during periods of smoke and heat:
- Drink water and bring extra bottles for yourself and others.
- Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you are thirsty. Talk to your doctor first if you are on water pills.
- Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks.
- Take a cool shower or bath.
- Use air conditioning or a fan.
- Don’t use a fan to blow extremely hot air on yourself – when temperatures cool and air quality improves to moderate or healthy (yellow or green on the Air Quality Index), open windows and doors to air out and cool homes and businesses
- Wear lightweight and loose clothing.
- Avoid using your stove or oven – plan ahead so you don’t need to generate additional heat in your home for meal preparation.
- Avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day (3 - 7 p.m.)
Anyone can get heat-related illnesses. So think about the family and friends who may need you to check on them during extreme heat. People who are very young, elderly, overweight or have medical conditions are at higher risk, as are athletes or those who work outdoors.
“People may not realize that heat-related illnesses can be deadly,” said Dr. Richard Fawcett, Deschutes County Health Officer “so extremely hot temperatures should not be taken lightly.”
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Heavy sweating
- Elevated body temperature
- Decreased urine output
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness (coma)
- Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
- Very high body temperature
- Fatal if treatment delayed