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Health & Science

Extreme heat is headed our way. Here's what you need to stay safe

Hydrate during heat wave
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Staying hydrated is an important part of keeping cool and healthy during a summer heat wave.

It’s going to be hot this week. Really, really hot.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Cleveland has issued warnings and advisories for much of Northeast Ohio, and local governments are asking the public to take precautions during the heat wave.

There is an Excessive Heat Warning in effect for areas around Findlay, Toledo and Sandusky, the NWS said Wednesday afternoon. A Heat Advisory is in effect for Northeast Ohio from Sandusky to Ashtabula to Canton.

"An Excessive Heat Warning is issued when heat indices reach 105 degrees or higher for at least two consecutive days," according to the NWS. "A Heat Advisory is issued when heat indices reach 100 to 104 degrees for two hours or longer."

The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management says residents should do the following to care for themselves and others during the heat wave:

  • Hydrate. Drink plenty of water whether you feel thirsty or not to avoid becoming dehydrated. Drink 4 to 6 ounces of liquid every 15 to 20 minutes when active.
  • Educate yourself. Be aware of your local weather, temperature and heat index forecasts.
  • Act fast when you suspect someone is suffering a heat-related illness. Seek medical attention immediately for any of the following signs: cramping, rapid pulse, heavy sweating, hot red skin, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting.
  • Take it easy. Don't overexert yourself when working or exercising outdoors. Take hourly breaks in the shade or in air conditioning.

County officials also urged the public to be aware of the difference between heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Heat cramps are non-life threatening.

Heat exhaustion occurs when people overexert themselves in hot and humid conditions. If untreated, heat exhaustion may cause a victim to suffer a heat stroke.

Heat stroke, also known as sun stroke, damages the body’s temperature control system, which regulates perspiration. A victim experiencing heat stroke can suffer brain damage or death if they do not receive proper medical care.

Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion or an altered mental status or slurred speech, loss of consciousness, hot, dry skin or profuse sweating, seizures or a very high body temperature, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, the county government is alerting residents to take care of themselves — especially older people who are more vulnerable — during extreme heat.

Check your home's cooling system to make sure it's working correctly, the release said. There is assistance available to help pay summer energy bills. Call 216-420-6700 for information, the release said.

Cooling centers open across Northeast Ohio

Cleveland’s Oak Street Health, which serves many 65 and over in underserved communities is opening its clinic to serve as cooling centers.

The clinics are located at:
6410 Broadway Ave.
10688 Lorain Ave.
10553 Saint Clair Ave.
16888 Harvard Ave.

The city of Canton announced it will open a cooling center at Garaux Park, 3801 13th St. SW, according to a city media release. The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

The SARTA will provide free transportation to the shelter, the release said. Take the bus from any regular stop to the Cornerstone Transit Center on Cherry Avenue SE. From the transit center, take the #113 or the #106 to Garaux Park. Return transportation to the Cornerstone Transit Center will also be provided free of change.

Cleveland and Akron are opening recreation and community centers to offer a reprieve from the heat as well.