Avoiding heat-related illnesses during the Lehigh Valley’s 1st heat wave of summer

Written by on July 21, 2022

Avoiding heat-related illnesses during the Lehigh Valley’s 1st heat wave of summer

By Megan Frank
July 21, 2022

Temperatures in the Lehigh Valley will continue to be in the 90s for the next few days.

But it’ll feel more like 100 degrees today and Sunday, according to the heat index.

Listen to the story.

To stay cool, Thomas Decker, director of EMS for Bethlehem, advises people to limit time outdoors and keep fans or air conditioners turned on.   He says it’s important to check on people who may need help. 

“Anyone that lives alone, is elderly, or has health issues should be checked up on daily at the minimum,” Decker said.

Decker says his agency sees cases of heat exhaustion and heatstroke each summer. 

“Heat exhaustion usually starts with muscle weakness, excessive sweating, possibly nausea and vomiting.  Heat stroke is when they’re no longer sweating.  If they’re at that stage, that’s life threatening,” explained Decker.

According to the CDC, signs of heat exhaustion include headache, dizziness and excessive sweating. These symptoms may lead to heatstroke.  The signs of heatstroke include confusion or slurred speech, skin that’s hot to touch and sometimes fainting or passing out.

Jackie Folsom, director of development at the Lehigh Valley Humane Society, says it’s vital to keep pets cool, too.  

“If it’s over 90 degrees outside, no dog can be outside tethered for more than 30 minutes – and that’s state law,” Folsom said.  “People should also be mindful of the temperature of the ground.  You may have shoes on, but your dog doesn’t.”

Folsom says common signs of a pet experiencing heat exhaustion are excessive panting, drooling and vomiting.  She recommends keeping pets indoors with fans and cooling units turned on, and providing them a fresh bowl of water throughout the day and night.

More tips for preventing heat-related illness from the CDC include wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing, wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated.

In Allentown, the city is offering free admission to two public pools for residents of a certain age today and whenever a heat advisory is issued by the National Weather Service.

The free passes apply at the Mack and Cedar pools for kids ages 13 and under and adults age 60 and up. People ages 14 to 59 can get half-price admission at those two pools. Normal admission rates apply to people who live outside Allentown.

A city-issued advisory says people can use the spray parks at Bucky Boyle Park and the Old Allentown Fairgrounds at no cost.

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