Pennsylvania, Allegheny County health departments issue heat warnings
A cool front Wednesday is expected to bring a little reprieve from the heat, but only after the mercury rises to nearly 90 degrees.
Afternoon showers forecasted for Wednesday could drop as much as three-quarters of an inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service in Moon Township. The rain could dramatically cool down the area. Wednesday’s low is expected to hit 72 degrees.
“The last couple of days, we’ve been at or below our average,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Myranda Fullerton.
The average high this time of year is 83 degrees.
So far this year, the Pittsburgh region has seen 18 days with temperatures at or above 80 degrees. That’s five fewer days than through the same period last year.
Although it’s been more than a year since the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory warning in the Pittsburgh region, alerting residents when the heat index makes it feel like 100 to 104 degrees, both the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Health Departments this week issued warnings to the public with tips for staying cool.
“The combination of heat and humidity can be deadly for people who are not able to keep themselves cool,” state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement. “Exposure to high temperatures for long periods of time can cause heat exhaustion or heat strokes.”
Signs of heat-related illness include muscle spasms, heavy sweating, headache, dizziness and weakness, among others. A heat stroke is caused by a failure to regulate the body’s temperature when exposed to high temperatures. Symptoms include hot skin with no sweat, a rapid, strong pulse, and confusion or unconsciousness.
Those most at risk for heat-related illness are the elderly and the young.
The Allegheny Health Department recommends the following:
• Drink plenty of water
• Keep cool by using wet towels or taking cool showers
• Stay inside air-conditioned buildings as much as possible
• Close curtains and blinds to block sunlight
• Wear light-colored and loose-fitting cotton or linen clothing
• Avoid strenuous activities outdoors
Extreme heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the U.S. with more than 600 heat-related deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Pennsylvania, 81 people were hospitalized in 2017 with a heat-related illness, according to the latest data available from the state health department.
Nicole C. Brambila is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Nicole at 724-226-7704, [email protected] or via Twitter .