“Usually once a year or so we’ll see something similar to this,” said Brian Coniglio, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
Through Friday, the region will see a mix of clouds and sunlight, along with scattered storms on Saturday, before the weather dips back into 80-degree temperatures next week.
People who will be outside for extended periods of time should be watching for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; cold, pale, and clammy skin; fast, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; tiredness or weakness; dizziness; headache; and/or fainting, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Signs of a heat stroke are similar, including a body temperature exceeding 103 degree, as well as confusion and hot, red, dry, or damp skin.
“People don’t realize how dangerous it can be,” said John Steele, public information specialist with Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County.
Sweating is a natural reaction to heat that the body does to help cool itself, but health providers say it’s a dangerous sign when your body stops sweating.
“Once you see a decrease in sweat when you are outside for an extended period of time, that’s one of the first paths down a bad situation that could lead to heat stroke,” said Kevin Baker, a nurse practitioner with Premier Health Family Care Vandalia.
Paying attention to symptoms also means being on the look out when you might need medical care.
“You definitely want to take a break, get out of the heat,” Steele said. “If you continue to feel like you’re not able to cool yourself down, you really have to pay attention to symptoms.”
If someone is experiencing a heat stroke, they should seek immediate medical attention. For heat exhaustion, people should seek care if they are throwing up, their symptoms get worse, or if their symptoms last longer than one hour, according to the CDC.
“I think you should seek medical attention if you start to feel faint and stop sweating when you’re outside,” Baker said.
Heat cramps can also develop, especially if you’re working outside. The CDC recommends getting medical help if the cramps last longer than one hour, you’re on a low-sodium diet, or you have heart problems.
“You don’t want that to progress to when your body completely cramps up and become super dehydrated. That can affect your cardiac system,” Baker said.
Taking frequent breaks from the heat, such as through going inside to air conditioning or seeking out shade, is important, Baker said, along with making sure to stay hydrated. Water is most important, but sports drinks can also offer some benefits, like electrolytes. Sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats also protect people outside from the sun.
If someone does start to experience heat-related illnesses, depending on the severity, patients can seek out either an urgent care or an emergency room.
“When people are outside with exposed skin, there is the chance for sun burn and skin irritations. I think that’s something that can be managed by urgent care,” Baker said. “Once you kind of progress more to a heat stroke where you’re feeling faint and nauseous and you do stop sweating, you need fluid replacement so you don’t advance to something more serious, so that would be an ER visit.”
People with breathing problems, such as asthma or allergies, may also experience exacerbated symptoms with those conditions. People with cardiac issues or high blood pressure should also pay attention to their environment and how they’re feeling, Baker said.