Be prepared for area’s first heat wave

Nicholas Wood of Rockville, Md., cools himself off by the fountain as he visits the World War II Memorial. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images/2006)

WASHINGTON – Just a few days ago the area woke up to temperatures in the 40s and people reached for sweaters. But now, as temps sizzle into the 90s, along with a stuffy blanket of high humidity, everyone will reach for the sunscreen.

Weather forecasters warn the area is about to face the year’s first heat wave.

“We’re going to have three or four, maybe even five days in a row – 90 degrees or better – that constitutes a heat wave,” ABC7 Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill told WTOP listeners in his Wednesday afternoon forecast.

“Be prepared,” advises Dr. Eric Schobitz, medical director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.

“Drink lots of water … Take lots of work-rest cycles, if you’re an adult working outside.”

It’s also important that kids stay hydrated in the heat according to Schobitz.

“Make sure you send them with that extra bottle of water, make sure you tell them to drink during the school day,” he says.

Children who take medication for allergies and for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder should be particularly careful with the heat.

“All of our kids who are taking allergy medications, (antithistamines) can put you at a little bit of a higher risk for heat injuries. People with ADHD medications, those stimulants, some of those can put you at higher risk,” says Schobitz.

The sudden pivot from cool to hot could make it more difficult for people to cope.

“It is going to be tough,” Schobitz says.

“It’s going to be hard when we switch from being in these relatively cool temperatures we’ve had for the last week or so to going up to these mid to high 90s we’re expecting.”

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