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Whatcom Health Department provides advice for coping with the heat – Base Camp to provide air-conditioned shelter

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — The weather forecasters continue to warn of sweltering temperatures for Whatcom County through the weekend, with highs reaching above 100° in many places.

The Whatcom County Health Department (WCDH) issued an advisory today, June 24th, recommending taking proactive measures to avoid heat-related illness.

People should be aware of the signs of heat-related illnesses including heat rash, sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. People who have symptoms of heat stroke need immediate medical attention and 911 should be contacted immediately. Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Body temperature of 103 degrees or more
  • Hot, red, dry or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness

WCHD notes heat-related illnesses are avoidable and advises taking the following precautions to stay safe in the heat.

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  • Monitor Those at High Risk
    People may be at greater risk for heat-related illness if they are:
    • Infants or young children
    • 65 years of age or older
    • Overweight
    • Overexerting during work or exercise
    • Physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
    • Taking certain medications, especially for depression, insomnia or poor circulation
  • Stay cool indoors
    • Fans will not prevent heat illness when temperatures are in the 90s
    • Take a cool shower or bath and seek air-conditioned spaces instead
    • Avoid using ovens or stoves in the home to keep indoor temperatures cooler
    • If air-conditioning isn’t available at home, seek public indoor spaces with air-conditioning, such as shopping malls
    • If congregating in a public, indoor space, wear a mask if you’re unvaccinated or if that space becomes crowded
  • Hydrate
    • Drink more fluids than you normally would, but make sure you replace salt and minerals
    • Heavy sweating depletes salt and minerals. Sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade may be consumed to replace lost salts and minerals. 
  • Limit outdoor activity
    • If possible, limit activities outdoors to the coolest parts of the day, in the morning and evening
    • Cut down on your exercise in the heat and rest often
    • People who work outside should take frequent breaks
  • Wear appropriate clothing
    • Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothing
  • Don’t leave children or pets in parked cars, even with windows cracked open

During the extreme heat, Lighthouse Mission’s Street Connect outreach team will be handing out cold water and sunscreen while welcoming those they encounter to come to the air-conditioned Base Camp according to Lighthouse Mission Executive Director Hans Erchinger-Davis in a press release issued today.

“Lighthouse Mission is set to provide air-conditioned shelter and relief to our neighbors who may need it most,” said Erchinger-Davis in the press release. “As you can imagine, for our unsheltered neighbors, being out in the heat and sun all day long can have devastating effects. On an average day, life on the streets is already no vacation.”

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