Memorial Day is often called the official kickoff to summer, and this year it’s being accompanied by very summer-like temperatures.
The National Weather Service in Louisville said a strong dome of high pressure over the Ohio Valley will send temperatures — and the humidity — soaring over the holiday weekend, with only a slight chance of any cooling showers.
Afternoon highs are expected to hit 92 degrees today, 95 degrees Sunday and 91 degrees Monday, the weather service said. That could mean more cases of sunburn, heat exhaustion or even heat stroke among the parade marchers, boaters, golfers, backyard barbecuers and everyone else heading outdoors.
Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center wasn’t making any special preparations for a wave of heat-related patients, planning and marketing director Bill Oldham said Thursday.
According to Web M.D., heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke are all risks with prolonged exposure to high temperatures. As your body works to cool itself under extreme or prolonged heat, blood rushes to the surface of your skin. As a result less blood reaches your brain, muscles and other organs, which can lead to heat-related illnesses.
Heat illness can strike virtually anyone, but the elderly, the young, the obese, and those with compromised immune systems or certain medical conditions are more at risk.
Heat exhaustion happens when the body loses large amounts of water and salt through excessive sweating, particularly through hard physical labor or exercise. The loss can disturb circulation and interfere with brain function.
Heat cramps are also caused by the body losing excessive amounts of fluids and salt. This deficiency, accompanied by the loss of other essential nutrients such as potassium and magnesium, typically occurs during heavy exertion.
Heat stroke, the most serious of the heat-related illnesses, occurs when the body suffers from long, intense exposure to heat and loses its ability to cool itself by sweating.
The best thing to do to prevent heat-related illnesses when the heat index is high is to stay in an air-conditioned environment.
If outdoors, you should drink extra fluids to prevent dehydration; wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat; and use a 30 or higher SPF sunscreen.