An excessive heat warning is in effect through Tuesday due to high heat and humidity.
Record high temperatures are likely in areas across the metro as the temperatures hit the high 90s and the heat index soars into the triple digits. Even at 7 p.m. on Sunday, the heat index registered 102 degrees in Minneapolis.
A few scattered thunderstorms are possible Sunday and Monday nights. Some may become severe since there is plenty of heat and moisture in the atmosphere. Not everyone will see rain, but it may bring short relief to those who do.
MID-WEEK COOL DOWN
After Tuesday, a cold front will swing through the area and bring slightly cooler conditions; however, highs are expected to hover near 90 the rest of the week.
During periods of extreme heat, taking precautions and adjusting habits can prevent heat-related illnesses.
It is critical to stay hydrated, but not every drink will do. Upping water intake is crucial, and anyone who has not been told to reduce fluid intake by a doctor shouldn't wait until thirsty to start sipping.
For those looking for a bit of flavor, fruit and vegetable juices will also add nutrients to a hydrating draught, but some drinks -- including alcoholic or caffeinated beverages -- can speed up dehydration. Sugary drinks and hot drinks should also be avoided.
Many people experience decreased appetite in high heat -- and there's a reason. The Minnesota Department of Health does not recommend skipping meals when the body is stressed, but some foods will settle better than others when the weather cranks up the heat.
Eat light meals that include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for an extra dose of water and fiber. High-calorie and hot meals are to be avoided, especially since food preparation can add extra heat and humidity to a living space.
Choosing clothes carefully can also help. Light-colored, loose-fitting clothing will allow for sweating and won't draw in heat from the sun like dark colors do. Hats and umbrellas can also offer a bit of shade for those going outdoors -- and don't forget the sunglasses and sunscreen!
Beyond those steps, staying in cool, air-conditioned places is recommended. For those without air conditioning, using a fan near an open window and limiting use of electronic devices can help keep the temperature manageable.
To save on energy, keeping blinds and drapes closed will keep the sunlight from heating indoor spaces. Taking cool baths or showers will also help bring down body temperatures while sparing the water heater from any extra labor.
The worst heat is expected to be felt between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Visiting an air-conditioned place during those hours is also a sound strategy for avoiding heat-related illness.
It's also best to avoid strenuous exercise outdoors during those hours. Those who must work outdoors are encouraged to take frequent breaks in shady areas and make fluids a focus.
Children and the elderly are especially sensitive to heat. Limiting outdoor exposure, especially in direct sunlight, is recommended, and residents are encouraged to frequently check on their vulnerable neighbors to catch any signs of heat illness early.
High temperatures can sicken healthy people who overexert themselves in the sun, but catching it quickly can stave off a trip to the hospital for treatment.
The early symptoms of heat illness include profuse sweating, fatigue, thirst and muscle cramping. Once those emerge, it is important to bring body temperature back down to avoid either heat exhaustion or stroke.
Heat exhaustion is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Muscle weakness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cool, moist skin
- Dark urine
Although the symptoms of heat exhaustion tend to be caused by dehydration and can be remedied at home with lots of water intake, anyone experiencing heat exhaustion may wish to seek medical attention to avoid heat stroke, which can cause shock, brain damage, organ failure, and even death.
The symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Dry, hot and red skin
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Rapid, weak pulse
- Irrational behavior
- Extreme confusion
Anyone exhibiting signs of heat illness can be assisted using the following steps.
1. Have the person lie down in a cool, shady place. Raise the person's feet about 12 inches.
2. Apply cool, wet cloths or cold water to the person's skin and fan the person.
3. Place cold compresses (ice packs) on the armpits, neck and groin.
4. Provide drinking water and massage cramping muscles gently until they relax.
5. Monitor the person's temperature. If it tops 102, call 911 or seek medical care.
If a person is exhibiting signs of shock -- bluish lips and fingernails, decreased alertness, suffering seizures or has lost consciousness, they should be taken to emergency care. Call 911 and continue to provide first aid as needed.
If someone is exhibiting signs of heat illness, the situation should be taken seriously -- especially if the person as a child, elderly or injured; however, health officials warn some home remedies could worsen the situation.
Anyone who suspects they or a loved one may be suffering from heat-related illness should not take aspirin or acetaminophen products to treat a fever or headache because those drugs could mask symptoms as they worsen. Similarly, salt tablets are discouraged if someone is already exhibiting signs of heat illness.
Liquids containing alcohol and caffeine can also interfere with the body's ability to control its internal temperature, and alcohol applied to the skin can also be harmful.
EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNINGS
For a list of active warnings and watches, visit: http://bit.ly/12Bqb2d
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