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PTC, Fayette officials: Take precautions in 100-degree heat wave into next week

Summer has arrived in Georgia with a vengeance, as the National Weather Service is predicting several consecutive days with the daytime temperature hovering at or above the 100-degree range. It will start out as dry heat but the mugginess will increase by Sunday.

Peachtree City issued a special email update Thursday afternoon that cautioned residents about the hot weather ahead.

“The National Weather Service is predicting that Peachtree City and the surrounding areas will reach 100 degrees or higher [Friday], Saturday, and Sunday. The Peachtree City Fire Department and Fayette County Emergency Management caution residents who will be outside, working or playing in the heat, to be aware of the potential for heat-related illnesses in yourself, your family, and others,” according to Betsy Tyler, public information officer for Peachtree City.

But it begins as a different kind of heat wave for usually humid Georgia. The NWS, in fact, has issued a concurrent alert for high fire dangers through Sunday because of extremely low humidities expected during the period of high temperatures.

“The primary hazard will be high fire danger conditions due to low relative humidities and low fuel moisture levels,” the NWS forecast office in Peachtree City said.

“Relative humidity values will fall to as low as 20 to 25 percent,” the NWS forecast office said. ”High fire danger conditions are possible again Friday across parts of north and central Georgia. Hot temperatures and increasing low-level moisture will produce high heat index values Saturday through Monday. Isolated thunderstorms will be possible Monday through Wednesday.”

So, the heat will begin to feel more Georgia-like by Sunday as the humidity begins to increase.

Tyler suggests the following precautions:

Plan ahead when you will be spending time in the heat:

Slow down, stay indoors, and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day. Postpone outdoor games and activities.

Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing, such as cotton. Avoid non-breathing synthetic clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.

Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles. Gradually build up to heavy activity or reschedule heavy activity to the coolest parts of the day. Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.

Take frequent breaks in extreme heat and humidity. Take breaks in the shade or a cool area when possible.

Drink water frequently. Drink enough water that you never become thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar.

Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat. Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

Identifying heat-related illness:

Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. Those most prone to heat exhaustion include the elderly, those with high blood pressure, and those spending a lot of time in a hot environment. Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness or fatigue, dizziness, confusion, nausea, clammy and moist skin, pale or flushed complexion, muscle cramps, and fast and shallow breathing. Have the person rest in a cool, shaded, or air-conditioned area and drink plenty of water or other cool, nonalcoholic, and non-caffeinated beverages.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder and can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given. It occurs when the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Symptoms of heat stroke can include hot, dry skin or profuse sweating, hallucinations, chills, headache, confusion, dizziness, and slurred speech. Call 911 and move the sick person to a cool, shaded area. Cool them by spraying or soaking clothes with water and fanning until help arrives.

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