Be careful as hot weather persists

·2 min read

Aug. 3—HIGH POINT — If you think it's been hotter and more stifling this summer than last year, you aren't imagining it.

The greater High Point area already has posted nearly as many days, 26, with a high temperature of 90 degrees or higher than it did in the entire summer of 2021, when there were 28, according to the National Weather Service.

By the end of this week the greater High Point area may surpass the 2021 total. Highs are expected in the upper 80s to low 90s through the week, National Weather Service Meteorologist Aaron Swiggett said.

"I think we'll bust through that 2021 mark," he said.

With excessive humidity, the daily heat index this week may push into the middle to upper 90s, Swiggett told The High Point Enterprise.

The excessive heat this summer has led to more people coming into hospital emergency rooms, said Patricia Williams, a family nurse practitioner with Novant Health.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which tracks summer heat-related illnesses through the end of September, reports that statewide there already had been 2,347 emergency department visits by patients with heat-related problems through July 23. That compares to 3,201 visits for the entire summer of 2021 and 3,099 for the summer of 2020.

People need to be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion before they veer into trouble by staying too long in dangerous conditions, Williams said.

"This is something that is so preventable if we just know the symptoms," she said. "Take action early, because as the symptoms get worse it's just going to be more pronounced."

Symptoms of heat exhaustion are:

—Elevated heart rate

—Headaches

—Excessive thirst

—Light-headeness or being unusually tired

—Fatigue or weakness

—Dizziness

—Nausea or vomiting

In the most dire cases, people can lose consciousness, have slurred speech and experience seizures, Williams said.

When people begin to show symptoms of heat exhaustion, the threat can be headed off relatively quickly by moving to a cool indoor area and drinking water to replenish fluids.

"If you don't, it will get more significant and the recovery is much longer and harder," Williams said.

pjohnson@hpenews.com — 336-888-3528 — @HPEpaul