The first official days of summer in the Bulloch County area are expected to bring intense heat and humidity, along with warnings from public safety officials to drink plenty of water, to avoid going out during the hottest part of the day and to check on those at risk.
Temperatures promise to soar into triple digits by Friday, with even higher heat indices, said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
“We are about to see it heat up over the next several days. … Right now, there are not any showers predicted to cool this down, so get ready,” he said.
Wynn said that temperatures today and Thursday are expected to reach 97 degrees, but Friday could bring a roasting 101 degrees. The even hotter heat index could make it a potentially dangerous day, he said.
While Bulloch County in the past has offered warming locations in the winter, there are no designated cooling areas. If a need arises, however, Wynn said that local churches could be approached to assist.
He reminds residents to check on elderly and disabled folks who may not have adequate cooling, never leave pets or children in hot cars, wear light clothing and stay hydrated.
National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Taylor said that Sunday may bring lower temperatures to the area, and a weak front moving in Saturday evening may bring a few scattered showers. Still, Sunday won’t be cool by any means, he said: The temperatures for the Bulloch County area will waver between the high 80s and low 90s.
Temperatures are expected to be higher than normal for the next eight days, with possible scattered rainfall, he said.
Signs of heat-related illnesses
Wynn said that the danger of high temperatures and humidity can lead to heatstroke, heat exhaustion and other illnesses.
Tips from the National Weather Service (www.nws.noaa.gov) suggest rescheduling outdoor activities for earlier in the day, later in the evening or another cooler day. Also, if working outside, “stay hydrated, take breaks in shade … (and) limit strenuous activities.”
Signs of heat cramps include painful muscle spasms, usually in the legs or abdomen, and heavy sweating, according to the NWS, which says the best way to combat these is to apply firm pressure or gently massage the muscles, and give the person sips of water unless he or she complains of nausea.
Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; weakness; cool, pale, clammy skin; a fast but weak pulse; possible muscle cramps; nausea; fainting; and dizziness. The NWS suggests treating this ailment by moving the victim to a cooler environment — preferably under an air conditioner or fan — laying him or her down and loosening his or her clothes, then applying cool, wet cloths to the skin. Offer the person water, and seek medical attention if he or she vomits more than once.
Signs of heatstroke include an altered mental state; headache; confusion; nausea; dizziness; shallow breathing; a body temperature above 103 degrees; hot, red, dry skin; a rapid and strong pulse; and fainting or loss of consciousness, according to the NWS.
“Heatstroke is a severe medical emergency. Call 911 or get the victim to a hospital immediately,” the site advises. “Delay can be fatal.”
While waiting for help, the NWS suggests moving the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned environment and reducing his or her body temperature with cool cloths or a bath. Use a fan only if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s — it can make the person hotter at higher temperatures — and do not give the victim fluids.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.