Our View: ‘It’s like a Heat Wave’

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Summer in Alexandria is many things: farmers markets, pools and the Cameron Run water park, proximity to the nations Independence Day celebration as well as our own birthday bash. Its cookouts and sudden storms. Its Little League, Aces and Nationals baseball. Its a time for hanging out with your kids and neighbors or taking your pooch for a romp in the nearest dog park.
    
Its also oppressively HOT.  
    
Walking on the sidewalk this past week really was hotter than a match head, as the Lovin Spoonful said in their song, Summer in the City.
    
After a two-day break from the humidity though the temperature still hovered around 90 degrees we are bracing for our third 100-degree day this month, forecast for Friday. Weve already seen 19 other days higher than 90 degrees. 
    
Stepping outside on a hot and humid day feels like a furnace blast. Even those of us without lung problems struggle to breathe. We scurry from climate-controlled homes to air-conditioned cars and then back on sizzling days, though the (fool?) hardy can be seen riding along bike paths or jogging on city streets. When the heat index nears 100 degrees, it becomes a real danger, especially to the elderly, children, those with asthma or other lung issues as well as strenuous exercisers. 
    
Deaths reported around the country have been linked to this months heat, including a West Point cadet who died during training and two elderly women who perished inside their unair-conditioned Indianapolis home. Thankfully, according to Chief Fire Marshal Robert Rodriguez, there were no fatalities connected to the recent heat wave in Alexandria.
    
Alexandrias health department posts helpful tips to stay safe in extreme heat online. Key points include the obvious, like the need for two to four glasses of fluids each hour while in the heat, and the less apparent, that even fit athletes need to be careful. Even short periods in broiling heat can pose a health danger. Officials encourage people to check up on each other, especially the elderly and young children. 
    
People also should be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke, including an extremely high body temperature, hotter than 103 degrees; red, hot and dry skin; rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion and ultimately unconsciousness. Dont wait until youre extremely ill: if you feel a little off, then its time to stop, find air conditioning and hydrate.
    
Fortunately, Alexandria offers many indoor alternatives for scorching days. Instead of the park, go to the pool. Or go ice-skating at the Mount Vernon Rec Center. (They have at least one free skate session most days.)  For a treat, go to Ultrazone or Shadow Land and let the kids play laser tag. For adults, pay for a one-time visit to a rec center or the Monroe Street YMCA rather than doing your normal run or bike ride outside. Browse inside Landmark Mall or the Torpedo Factory, visit a museum, go to the library or just enjoy iced tea inside your favorite eatery.
    
Summer is a fun time of year. Just use a little extra caution to make sure its also safe.

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