Temperatures in the Pacific Northwest are expected to hit unprecedented highs this weekend and early next week, with temperatures exceeding 100 in Seattle, 109 in Portland, and 115 in Eastern Washington. Extreme heat is a climate justice issue. In the Pacific Northwest region, increasing frequency and intensity of extreme heat events is an impact of climate change, and due to decades of racist policy and practice in Seattle, lower income neighborhoods with disproportionately high concentrations of people of color experience higher temperatures than more affluent areas that tend to be whiter.
With rising temperatures, the dangers of heat-related illnesses grows, especially for the elderly, children, people with mental illness, and people with chronic illnesses; however, everyone is at risk and should take precautions as you’re able. Because of the extreme temperatures this weekend, today’s Canvass for Nikkita Oliver and End of Year Social are both postponed. The social will instead be on Friday 7/2 from 6-8pm in Cowen Park. Be on the lookout for more information soon, and fill out the linked RSVP forms to stay in the loop!
Air conditioned cooling centers are available at these locations around Seattle and King County. Public Health Seattle-King County recommends taking the following actions (also available here):
- Spend more time in air conditioned places. If you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting a mall, movie theater or other cool public places.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun.
- Dress in lightweight clothing.
- Take a cool shower or bath, or place cool washcloths on your skin.
- Check up on your elderly neighbors and relatives to take these precautions too.
- Drink plenty of water. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol and large amounts of sugar because they can actually dehydrate your body.
- Have a beverage with you at all times, and sip or drink frequently. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
If you go outside:
- Limit the time you’re in direct sunlight.
- Do not leave infants, children, people with mobility challenges and pets in a parked car, even with the window rolled down.
- Avoid or reduce doing activities that are tiring, or take a lot of energy.
- Do outdoor activities in the cooler morning and evening hours.
- Avoid sunburn. Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
- Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. If you see someone with signs of overheating, move the person to a cooler location, have them rest for a few minutes and then slowly drink a cool beverage. Get medical attention for them immediately if they do not feel better.
- Symptoms of heat stroke include: an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F); red, hot, and dry skin; rapid, strong pulse; nausea, confusion and unconsciousness. Seek medical attention immediately if someone is showing these symptoms.