July 17, 2013

A heat wave has hit Richmond (and most of the East Coast) this week, with brutally hot temperatures.

Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 90s here in Richmond, with evening temperatures in the in the 80s. Click here for the latest forecast from the meteorologists at WRIC.

While heat can certainly impact everyone, those most likely to be at risk are older folks, young children, the less fortunate and those with any sort of pre-existing medical conditions. People who work outdoors such as construction workers, laborers, athletes, etc. should also be very careful.

HOW TO STAY COOL AND COMFORTABLE

So how do you stay cool, other than having a wonderfully cool system, which you properly maintain and service (wink, wink!)?

Watch our own Travis Riddle in a recent interview with WRIC! In this interview, Travis touches upon the ways we at Woodfin recommend maintenance to your A/C unit, in order to maximize the life, cool capacity and comfort of your system.

If your A/C is not working properly, call us at 730-5000 or contact us online, and we'll be glad to get you back up and running quickly. Just as Travis mentions in the video above, we strongly suggest in the future that you have your A/C unit serviced before a big heat wave hits, so you can ensure cool comfort during crazy hot days.

If you don't have working A/C at home, do yourself a favor and go to a mall, public library, large indoor office building, or some kind of city/county sponsored cooling shelter to keep yourself cool and calm.

See a list of cooling shelters in Richmond.

If you have to be outdoors due to work, avoid the hottest points of the day if possible and plan appropriately. Be sure to take breaks frequently, drink as much water as you can, take cool showers to keep your core body temperature down, and wear loose, lightweight clothing, in white or very light colors.

It's also critical that you understand the differences and symptoms between the two main signs of heat illness, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

HEAT STROKE

Heat stroke occurs when the body cannot regulate its own temperature or increased heat production, which overwhelms the body's ability to get rid of excess heat. You may experience a body temperature higher than 103 degrees Fahrenheit, along with symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, confusion, headaches and unconsciousness. Often, your skin becomes red, hot and dry. Sometimes, despite your temperature, you may not be sweating.

If left untreated, heat stroke can lead to permanent disability or even death. If you or someone you know/see appears to be experiencing a heat stroke, find a cooler area and try to drop your/their temperature to 101 or 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Try dipping them in cool water, and loosen or remove any heavy clothing. Be sure not to give them anything to drink, and seek immediate medical attention.

HEAT EXHAUSTION

On the other hand, heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat stroke, where a person is typically reacting to a lack of fluids after being exposed to hot temperatures. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are not always immediate either, and may come about several days later.

Typical symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramping, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting and fainting. You could also have a fast, weak pulse and breathing rate, and your skin may feel cool and moist.

If you or someone you know/see might be going through heat exhaustion, find a cool area and drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. If symptoms persist for longer than an hour, seek medical help.

If you have any questions about how to stay cool, the types of heat related illnesses, how your A/C system works, or if we can help you in any way to stay cool and safe, just call us at 730-5000 or contact us online.

By Kelly Williams 
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