Dangerous heat indexes to continue through weekend

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A prolonged stretch of dangerous heat is forecasted for Beaufort County and much of eastern North Carolina through Monday, and the National Weather Service is cautioning eastern North Carolina residents to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are forecasted in the mid-to-high 90s for the remainder of the week, with heat indexes between 100 and 110 degrees projected each afternoon.

With a combination of high temperatures and high humidity, the NWS warns there is an increased chance of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The NWS recommends drinking plenty of fluids, staying in air-conditioned rooms, staying out of the sun and checking up on neighbors and relatives.

A report issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services last week says a total of 1,452 emergency department visits for heat-related illnesses had been recorded in North Carolina through the end of June. Common activities contributing to many of these visits included recreation and working outdoors.

Locally, Vidant Beaufort has seen an increase in cases of heat-related illness, averaging between three and four cases per day, according to Pam Shadle, who serves as director of marketing, community outreach and development at Vidant Beaufort Hospital.

“Dr. Emilie Pendley, medical director of emergency services, wants to remind folks to stay hydrated, limit time outside and be aware of signs and symptoms,” Shadle wrote.

For those working or spending extended periods of time outside, the agency recommends scheduling any strenuous activity for early morning or evening, wearing lightweight and loose-fitting clothes and drinking plenty of water. Workers should take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.



The Center for Disease Control offers the following guidelines for recognizing and responding to heat-related illnesses.


What to look for

  • High body temperature (103°F or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Losing consciousness (passing out)

What to do

  • Call 911 right away — heat stroke is a medical emergency
  • Move the person to a cooler place
  • Help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath
  • Do not give the person anything to drink


What to look for

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting (passing out)

What to do

  • Move to a cool place
  • Loosen your clothes
  • Put cool, wet cloths on your body or take a cool bath
  • Sip water

Get medical help right away if:

  • You are throwing up
  • Your symptoms get worse
  • Your symptoms last longer than one hour


What to look for

  • Heavy sweating during intense exercise
  • Muscle pain or spasms

What to do

  • Stop physical activity and move to a cool place
  • Drink water or a sports drink
  • Wait for cramps to go away before you do any more physical activity

Get medical help right away if:

  • Cramps last longer than one hour
  • You’re on a low-sodium diet
  • You have heart problems


What to look for

  • Painful, red and warm skin
  • Blisters on the skin

What to do

  • Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals
  • Put cool cloths on sunburned areas or take a cool bath
  • Put moisturizing lotion on sunburned areas
  • Do not break blisters


What to look for

  • Red clusters of small blisters that look like pimples on the skin (usually on the neck, chest, groin or in elbow creases)

What to do

  • Stay in a cool, dry place
  • Keep the rash dry
  • Use powder (such as baby powder) to soothe the rash