Chris Smallcomb, a Washoe county meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that the temperature will rise up to the low 100s, with Saturday’s high hitting 104 degrees.
“Despite the jump in degrees, this heatwave isn’t looking quite as intense as the one this past June,” said Smallcomb. “Mid-July is always the hottest time of the year here but we will start to slowly cool in the next couple of weeks.”
With the extreme heat on the horizon, those enjoying the outdoors should always keep safety in mind.
“Accidents do happen,” said Dr. Vance Alm, a family practitioner with Northern Nevada Medical Group. “The best thing to do is to not put yourself at risk.”
With the nice weather, more people are spending time outside near the water and at the local parks.
“Swimming lessons are important,” said Dr. Alm. “As is boating education. Always wear a life jacket.”
When out running or biking, wear bright, reflective colors in order for motorists to see you. When biking, always wear a helmet and make sure that your bike has working front and back lights.
Now that students are on summer vacation and families are driving to and from destination sites, it is important for drivers to avoid such things as fatigue and get plenty of rest.
“Watch out for other drivers and the glare from the rising and setting sun,” Dr. Alm added.
With the temperature rising up into the triple digits later this week and more people spending their time basking in the sunshine, Sparks officials and doctors urge everyone to cover up in order to avoid sunburns and heat exhaustion and to drink plenty of water.
“You should be drinking enough water that you go to the bathroom at least once an hour,” said Dr. Alm. “If your urine is a golden, dark yellow color, you’re probably dehydrated and aren’t drinking enough water. Your urine should run almost clear.”
Dr. Alm also warns against wearing dark colored clothing as it traps heat. Dr. Alm advises outside goers to wear light colored and light weight fabrics along with a broad brim hat in order to protect ears and eyes from burning. He also says to avoid wearing flip flops and sandals.
“There is nothing worse than a sunburn on the top of your foot,” Dr. Alm said.
Sun screen is key when spending time outdoors as well as how often one applies it.
“With sunscreen, you aren’t completely free from sun damage. Often, many people put some on and don’t reapply it,” said Dr. Alm. “The number of SPF equals the number of time you can spend out in the sun before it starts to damage your skin. If you’re wearing SPF 25, you only have 25 minutes of protection.”
Sunburns do happen, though, no matter how careful one is. If you do get a sunburn, Dr. Alm advises staying in a cool place. Do not place on the aloe creams and lotions as they can be drying, sucking out the rest of the moisture in your sunburnt skin. An anti inflammatory, like Advil or Motrin, would help soothe the burning sensation. In extreme sunburn cases, a trip to the emergency room is required in order to pump fluids into a dehydrated body. With such cases, Dr. Alm suggests drinking Gatorade, as the salt and sugars inside the drink help water get into the body quicker.
While outside, take note of your bodily reactions. If you are feeling dizzy, thirsty or are feeling nauseous, you may be suffering a heat stroke. Avoid heat stroke by staying indoors during the peak heat hours of the day.
“People go outside to hang out and play, soaking into much sun. People need to get sun in moderation,” said Dr. Alm. “July tends to be the worst month weather-wise, especially for the elderly and young children.”
Washoe County Senior Services Director, Grady Tarbutton, agrees, noting that the extreme summer heat can be dangerous for the elderly.
“Many seniors have family or neighbors that look out for them,” Tarbutton said. “Most of them know how to keep cool and to drink more water during the hotter summer months. What could potentially harm a senior citizen is their medication. Some medication can make you dehydrated. Make sure to read the warning signs on the medicine bottle.”
For those living without the constant care of a loved one or close friend living nearby, the city of Sparks offers a home delivery service that checks on an elderly person and provides them with meals. If a home lacks a proper cooling system, The Sparks Senior Center at 97 Richards Way is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Senior citizens are welcome to enjoy the air conditioning and are also provided a meal.
“We welcome all seniors with open arms and cool air,” said Tarbutton.