Potentially dangerous heat and humidity levels will spread across Medford and Massachusetts starting on Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service (NWS) warns residents.
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the NWS said that a large that an excessive heat watch is in effect from Thursday afternoon through Friday afternoon, with temperatures of 95 to 100 degrees and, combined with the humidity, heat index values up to around 105 degrees.
The NWS warned that the oppressive heat may lead to heat illnesses for children, seniors and anyone undertaking strenuous physical activity during the day.
"An excessive heat watch means that dangerously hot temperatures are expected with heat indices of 105 degrees of greater," the NWS said. "The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible."
To avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke, people should wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water. Also, avoid prolonged exposure in the sun, drink plenty of fluids, try to stay in an air-conditioned environment and check up on relatives and neighbors.
"Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location," the NWS said. "Heat stroke is an emergency—call 911."
Signs of Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), signs of heat exhaustion include:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
Signs of heat stroke include:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
- Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
Ways to Stay Cool
The city of Medford has announced it will keep the open until 8:30 p.m. to provide a place to keep cool during the excessive heat watch. It's open to all, not just seniors.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) recommends that people without air conditioning should stay on the lowest floor of their homes and out of the sun, warning that electric fans do not cool the air, but do evaporate sweat that naturally cools the body.
MEMA also offers additional tips to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
- Slow down and avoid strenuous activity.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain normal body temperature. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face from the sun.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages that can dehydrate the body.
- Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals. Avoid high protein foods that increase metabolic heat.
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.
- Sunburn slows the skin's ability to cool itself. If you are outside, use sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors.