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How to keep your cool during coming heat wave

Washington County Public Health officials are reminding people to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses over the next few days, when excessive heat is in the forecast.

The most vulnerable people are people who work or exercise outdoors, adults over 65, infants and children under 4, the homeless or poor and people with chronic medical conditions.

“Find a place to stay cool. Consider visiting a library or indoor shopping mall to get away from the heat,” says Deputy Health Officer Dr. Christina Baumann. “Older adults can be especially vulnerable and are encouraged to visit their local senior center if they don’t have air conditioning at home. Check on your neighbors, too.” 

Several organizations are opening their doors or extending hours of operation to help people stay safe and cool over the next few days.

Among cool refuges are the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District’s Athletic Center and its Cedar Hills, Conestoga and Garden Home recreation centers in the greater Beaverton area and at the Tualatin Public Library. Hours of operation vary by location but all are open at least part of the daytime Thursday through Saturday, when the hottest weather is expected.

For additional information about those locations or others that may be added to the list, see the Washington County website.

Here are some additional tips to stay cool and hydrated:

• Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as possible

• Do not rely on a fan when it is very hot

• Avoid strenuous activities in the heat of the day

• Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing

• Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature. Find a splash pad or fountain

• Don’t use your stove, oven, washer or dryer on very hot days

• Eat small, light meals

• Close your blinds and curtains to keep sunlight out

• If the temperature falls at night, open windows to let in cooler air

• Drink plenty of fluids, especially while working or exercising outside.

• Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.

• Watch pets, especially dogs, for signs of distress such as heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue. If you see these signs, contact your veterinarian’s office. Dog breeds with flat faces are especially vulnerable.