This week brings high temps, bad air

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SALISBURY ó Unless you have to be outside this week, the best advice is to stay indoors.
Itís going to be hot, and the air will be unhealthy for some people.
Temperatures climbed into the mid-90s Tuesday and daytime highs are expected to remain there the rest of the week ó with a potential high of 97 today ó the National Weather Service forecasts.
Those temperatures create the danger of illnesses such heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which happen when a personís body is unable to stay cool in extremely high temperatures.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke share some symptoms, including dizziness, headache, nausea and a fast heartbeat.
Heat exhaustion can also be marked by heavy sweating, a feeling of confusion and dark-colored urine, which indicates dehydration.
Heat stroke, meanwhile, can show itself in symptoms such as lack of sweating, a high temperature, muscle cramps and seizures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that though anyone can suffer a heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk. They include infants and young children, people 65 and older, people who have a mental illness, and people who are physically ill, especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure.
The CDC recommends that when the temperature gets high, people drink more fluids ó though not liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar, both of which can cause you to lose more body fluids. The agency also recommends using air conditioning ó or taking cool showers if you donít have air conditioning ó and wearing lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
If you have to be outside, limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours, cut down on exercise, rest often in shady areas and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
And, the CDC warns, never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle. Safe Kids North Carolina says 35 to 40 children die each year from heat exposure after being left in cars on hot days. The temperature in a closed vehicle can rise about 20 degrees in 10 minutes and nearly 30 degrees in 20 minutes, the organization says. And cracking a window has little effect.
In addition to the heat, air quality will be a concern for the next several days. Today and Thursday are air quality action days, with the air quality forecast to be moderate ó unhealthy for sensitive groups.
The main culprit is ozone, along with particle pollution.
On moderate or code orange days, the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Children, active adults and those with heart or respiratory disease, including asthma, should limit outdoor activity.
For additional information concerning the air quality forecast, including a detailed forecast discussion, visit the N.C. Division Of Air Quality website at airaware/forecast.
Open burning is generally prohibited on air quality action days. Burning trash and other non-vegetative material is always prohibited.
Other ways to help reduce pollution include driving less by carpooling, taking the bus or telecommuting; conserving electricity; packing a lunch or walking to lunch; not idling your vehicle; refueling and mowing after 6 p.m.