Extended Code Orange warning issued for Delaware

DOVER — The National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, issued a hazardous weather outlook Wednesday afternoon that extends through the coming days.

With sunshine and an expected high temperature of 94 forecast for Thursday afternoon, the heat index is expected to be around 100 degrees.

A similar heat index is expected Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Also on Wednesday, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said Delaware will experience a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day Thursday.

Light southwesterly surface winds will push ozone levels into the Code Orange range today, according to DNREC. However, afternoon clouds and scattered thunderstorms should help limit ozone to the upper moderate range, officials said.

A Code Orange air quality forecast for ozone is a level of pollution that can be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as young children, the elderly and those with heart and/or respiratory conditions. Those people should limit outdoor activities, especially ones that require a high level of exertion.

For more information about the air quality alerts and ways to reduce air pollution, visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/AQI/Pages/AQIForecast.aspx.

The Delaware Division of Public Health also reminds residents to take precautions to avoid heat exhaustion, heat stroke and severe respiratory conditions, which can be fatal.

The body’s natural cooling system to slow or shut down completely when temperatures and humidity are high.

During days of extreme heat, Delawareans should check on vulnerable family members and neighbors.

Pet owners also should take steps to protect their animal companions by providing shade and plenty of cool drinking water. Unnecessary transportation and walking of pets should be avoided.

Animals at the greatest risk of stress from the heat include pregnant or lactating animals, very young and older animals, animals with darker coats, obese pets, short-nosed dog breeds and animals with chronic health conditions.

In dogs and cats, such signs can include rapid panting, increased heartbeat and body temperature, weakness, increased salivation, restlessness and muscle spasms, lack of coordination, bright red or pale and sticky gums, vomiting, diarrhea and depression.

Warning signs

• Heat cramps occur in the muscles of the limbs or abdomen during or after physical activity in high heat. Sweating results in a loss of fluids and salts that cause muscle cramps. Address heat cramps by resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water.

• Heat exhaustion is more severe, occurring when a person is overheated along with reduced or unbalanced intake of fluids. Symptoms include dehydration, fatigue, weakness, clammy skin, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, rapid breathing, irritability and fainting. Move the person indoors or into shade. Loosen or remove the person’s clothing. Encourage the person with heat exhaustion to eat and drink. Get the person to a cool shower or bath. Call a doctor for further advice.

• Heat stroke occurs when the body can no longer cool itself, and can be a life-threatening event. Prompt medical treatment is required. Symptoms include flushed, hot and dry skin with no sweating; high body temperature (above 103 degrees F, taken orally); severe, throbbing headache; weakness, dizziness or confusion; sluggishness or fatigue; decreased responsiveness; and loss of consciousness. Call 9-1-1 immediately. This is a medical emergency. Get the heat stroke victim indoors or into shade. Get the person into a cool shower or bath or wipe them down with continuously soaked cool washcloths while awaiting emergency responders.

For more information, visit the CDC at cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html.

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