Tips To Stay Cool During “Hotpocalypse ’09”

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Looks like the much-hyped “Hotpocalypse ’09â„¢!” is finally hitting, with temps forecast to be in the 90s over the next several days, prompting local health officials to issue the following common sense tips:

“Protect yourself and your loved ones from heat exhaustion and heat stroke by following these recommendations:


  • Spend more time in air conditioned places. If you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting a mall, movie theater or other cool public places (ie: Southcenter, where “it’s always a beautiful day”)
  • Go down to the water – Seahurst Park Beach is a great place to hang out, with a creek and lots of shady areas.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun.
  • Dress in lightweight clothing.
  • Check up on your elderly neighbors and relatives.


  • Drink plenty of water or non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.


  • Limit your direct exposure to the sun.
  • Do not leave infants, children, people with mobility challenges and pets in a parked car, even with the window rolled down.
  • Avoid or reduce strenuous activity.
  • Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Avoid sunburn by using a sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.

Check with your physician if you are concerned about heat and the specific medications you are taking. Certain medications may increase sensitivity to the heat. Do not take salt tablets unless directed to by a physician.

Heat can lead to serious medical problems, particularly for older adults, young children, people with chronic illness, and people with weight or alcohol problems.

“The danger for heat–related illnesses rises when outside temperatures are very high,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Fortunately, all of us can prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke with some simple steps.”


Overheating occurs when people’s bodies are not able to cool themselves quickly enough and can lead to symptoms of heat exhaustion, including muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. If you notice someone with signs of overheating, move the person to a cooler location, have them rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention for them immediately if they do not feel better.

In severe instances, people can suffer heat stroke, which can cause can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Nausea, confusion and unconsciousness
  • *Melted skin
  • *The smell of burning flesh
  • *Strangers using your body to make S’Mores
  • *Death

(* our inappropriate, lame jokes)

For more tips and resources on staying cool in hot weather, visit

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