With temperatures expected to climb to the middle and upper 90s—and heat index values that could reach 105—the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday across Northern Virginia and Fairfax County.
The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity puts those who are outdoors for an extended period of time, as well as groups like children and the sick, disabled or elderly, at risk for heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses, the advisory says.
Do you know the signs of heat exhaustion?
- Complaints of Light Headedness/Dizziness
- Altered Mental Status/ “Clouded Judgment”
- Rapid Pulse
- Extreme or limited amounts of sweating
NWS offers the following tips for staying cool:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Stay out of the sun
- Stay in an air-conditioned room
- Reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or late evening
- Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible
- If you must work outdoors, schedule frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.
Where to Stay Cool in Town
“There is plenty residents can do to stay cool, such as visiting a local library, taking in a movie, strolling through a shopping center, or visiting a community recreation center or senior center that is air-conditioned,” Merni Fitzgerald, Fairfax County government director of public affairs, wrote in an email to Patch the last time the mercury was rising. “Fairfax County has many air-conditioned facilities where residents can conduct county business, get educated or be entertained. Resting for just two hours in air conditioning can significantly reduce heat-related illnesses.”
- Vienna Community Center has several drop in classes and activities and events each day. It is open from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
- Patrick Henry Library:, open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday. Read, surf the web or attend one of the library's events.
- Grab a cool beverage at a coffee shop or restaurant in town.
- Catch a concert at Jammin' Java.
- Catch a movie at AMC Tysons Corner, the Reston Town Center Cinemas or the Regal Fairfax Town Center. Tickets are available online.
Tysons Corner Mall is also open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Fairfax County offers cooling assistance programs designed to help residents with electric bills and the purchase of air conditioners and fans.
Keeping Pets Cool
Don't forget Fido. Pets should not be left outside on very hot, humid days. Even with shade and water, pets, like people, can overheat.
Fairfax County Police offer the following tips for pets:
- Never leave pets in a parked car. On a warm day, temperatures can rapidly rise to dangerous levels.
- Shade and water are vital to pets. Pet owners must provide adequate shelter protecting animals from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, and adverse effects of heat or cold. A dog house in the backyard with no access to shade does not protect animals from sun.
- Limit exercise on hot days. Take care to adjust intensity and duration of exercise. Watch for shortness of breath and remember that asphalt gets very hot and can burn paws; walk your dog on the grass if possible.
- Recognize the symptoms of heatstroke. If your pet shows signs such as heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, fever, dizziness, restlessness, excessive thirst and profuse salivation, contact your veterinarian immediately. Take steps to reduce the animal’s body temperature; apply ice packs or cold towels to the head, neck and chest, provide water and ice cubes for hydration, and move the animal into the shade or air-conditioning.