Tips to stay cool as temperature climbs

By Eric Florip, Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter and Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter



As Southwest Washington marches toward possible triple-digit heat today and Friday, local officials are offering tips for how to stay cool.

Sizzling temperatures come with a risk for heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion and cramps.

Although anyone can suffer from heat-related illnesses, some people are at greater risk, including infants and young children, people 65 or older and those who are physically ill. Health officials recommend checking on at-risk adults at least twice a day. Infants and young children need more frequent monitoring.

Clark County Public Health officials encouraged people to take these steps to stay safe during the heat wave:

  • Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated), regardless of your activity level.
  • Stay indoors and, if possible, in an air-conditioned place.
  • NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially young children. This applies to pets as well.
  • Electric fans will not prevent heat-related illness when the temperature reaches the high 90s. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
  • Wear light-weight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Cut down on exercise. If you exercise, avoid the midday hours and drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage may replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
  • Try to rest often in shady areas.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.

Just before noon, the temperature at Pearson Field was 87 degrees. That’s 8 degrees ahead of Wednesday’s reading at the same time, before the high topped out at 96. Today’s high temperature is expected to land at or near 100 degrees, according to the weather service. Friday could be just as hot, before conditions cool down Saturday and Sunday.

The recent run of hot, dry weather has created a high wildfire risk on both sides of the Cascade Mountains, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. Burning on DNR-managed lands has been prohibited since July 1.

Locally, burn bans on private property in both Clark and Cowlitz counties took effect on July 15. They’re scheduled to remain in place until Sept. 30 or later, depending on conditions.

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