Washington County Public Health Advises People to Take Precautions During Extreme Heat

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department

Forecasters predict that temperatures will climb into the high 90s and perhaps even into the triple digits starting on Friday and lasting for several days. Washington County Public Health is reminding people to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Sonrise Church, located at 6701 NE Campus Way in Hillsboro, will open as a public cooling center on Monday and Tuesday of next week from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. The church can be accessed by TriMet buses #47 and #48 and the Orenco Station Max stop.

Meals on Wheels People is collecting donated fans and distributing them to homebound seniors. "We do advise people not to rely on fans as their primary cooling device when it's very hot," says Deputy Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines. "Instead, people should mist themselves with a spray bottle and then use the fan to get the cooling benefits of evaporation."

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and claiming more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. The most vulnerable individuals are those who work or exercise outdoors, adults over 65, infants and children under four, the homeless or poor, and people with chronic medical conditions.

"If your home does not have air conditioning, consider visiting a public library or indoor shopping mall," says Dr. Vines. "Older adults can be especially vulnerable to extreme heat and are encouraged to visit their local senior center if they don't have A/C at home." Washington County Department of Health and Human Services maintains a list of senior centers on its website at http://www.co.washington.or.us/HHS/senior-centers.cfm.

Take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Check on at-risk neighbors, friends and family members.

Stay cool

  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as possible.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device when it is very hot.
  • Avoid strenuous activities in the heat of the day.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Close your blinds and curtains to keep sunlight out.
  • If the temperature falls at night, open your windows (if it is safe to do so) to let the cool air in.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially while working or exercising outside.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.

Stay informed

Washington County Public Health improves and protects the public's health across the lifespan through prevention, education, partnerships and healthy environments.

Media Contact:

Wendy Gordon, Communications Coordinator/PIO