Hot and humid conditions prompted the National Weather Service in Dodge City to issue a heat advisory Wednesday afternoon and evening for parts of central Kansas, and similar conditions are forecast through at least the weekend.
Afternoon temperatures of near 100 degrees and dew points in the upper 60s to lower 70s combined to create a heat index — what the temperature feels like on your skin — to 105 degrees or more Wednesday.
A high temperature of 103 is forecast for Thursday, with 100 and 96 expected for Friday and Saturday.
Heat advisories are issued when the heat index is predicted to be 105 or more, according to information from the National Weather Service in Dodge City.
Heat indices are expected to reach 102 on Thursday and in the upper 90s to near 100 on Friday and Saturday, according to the weather service.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment advised people to use caution in the heat.
“The best defense against heat-related illness is prevention,” KDHE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Greg Lakin said in a press release Wednesday. “Staying cool and making simple changes in fluid intake, activities and clothing during hot weather can help you remain safe and healthy.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year.
People who face the highest risk of heat-related illness include infants and children up to 4 years of age, adults over age 65, people who have chronic medical conditions such as heart disease or obesity, those taking certain medications and people who work or exercise in extreme heat.
The CDC offers these tips for preventing heat-related illness:
• Stay cool: Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Stay in an air-conditioned place as much as possible. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a good way to cool off. Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
• Schedule outdoor activities carefully: Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
• Pace yourself: Cut down on exercise during the heat. If exertion in the heat makes your heart pound and leaves you gasping for breath, stop all activity. Get into a cool area or into the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint.
• Wear sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
• Do not leave children in cars: Cars can quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures, even with a window cracked open. While anyone left in a parked car is at risk, children are especially at risk of getting heat stroke or dying.
• Drink plenty of fluids: Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks — these cause you to lose more body fluid. Also avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
• Replace salt and minerals: Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body that need to be replaced. A sports drink can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are on a low-salt diet, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other chronic conditions, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
• Keep your pets hydrated: Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets and leave the water in a shady area.
• Know the signs: Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and how to treat them. See them at www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html
• Use a buddy system: When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Heat-induced illness can cause a person to become confused or lose consciousness. If you are 65 years of age or older, have a friend or relative call to check on you twice a day during a heat wave. If you know someone in this age group, check on them at least twice a day.
For more information on dealing with extreme summer hear, visit the CDC web site at www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat