Caution urged as forecast calls heat index rising above 100 degrees

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With temperatures expected to reach the mid-to-high 90s and heat index values ranging from 100 to 105 degrees later on Thursday, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) encourages Delaware residents to prepare for extreme heat and take steps to prevent heat illness as temperatures rise.

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for New Castle County and an Excessive Heat Advisory for Kent and Sussex counties between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday. The hot weather is expected to be short-lived, with improved conditions on Friday.

Delmarva Power has declared Peak Savings Day. Customers are offered incentives for reducing energy use. The program also includes controls for some customers that reduce electrical consumption for air-conditioning equipment.

Extreme heat is dangerous for seniors, young children, people with disabilities, and people with breathing conditions and other chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory problems, public health officials stated.

Also at risk are people without access to air conditioning, fans, or cooling shelters.

Among the tips offered:

  • Carry water with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks containing sugar, alcohol, or caffeine, which dehydrate the body. Check with a doctor before increasing fluid intake if you have epilepsy, heart, kidney, or liver disease, or if you are on a fluid-restrictive diet. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Stay indoors on the lowest floor possible. When outdoors, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear a hat or use an umbrella. Use sunscreen with SPF 15+. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself, and has been linked to skin cancer.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes. Be careful trying to cool down too quickly; a cold shower immediately after coming in from hot temperatures can lead to hypothermia, particularly for the elderly and children. In these cases, cool water is better than ice cold water.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest. Work out or hold team practices early in the morning or in the early evening.
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