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How to stay safe in Montana’s scorching heat

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, accounting for more than 700 deaths each year.
Sun Heat
Posted at 2:18 PM, Aug 14, 2023

MISSOULA - June and July have already shattered global heat records this year and the forecast ahead for the Pacific Northwest isn't going to help.

The northwest corner of the United States is looking at triple-digit temperatures this week.

It's another hot forecast on an already hot summer.
The 100-degree temperatures expected this week mean places like the Clark Fork River and Brennan's Wave will be the places to be in Missoula.

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Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, accounting for more than 700 deaths each year.

We checked with The University of Washington, the CDC and Yale Medicine to get some idea on how to combat heat-related illnesses since we're facing a scorcher of a week.

Heat illnesses include heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke — which can be deadly.

You can combat heat illnesses by drinking water and other fluids — and not just when you're thirsty. This is your best defense.

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Avoid the sun as much as possible, especially between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Anyone who must be outside in the middle of the day should take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.

If you don't have air conditioning, go to a mall, library, or restaurant — anywhere you can cool off. If you don't have a car to get to those places, remember Mountain Line in Missoula is free.

You can also take a cool bath or shower if you don't have proper household cooling.

Wear loose-fitting clothing and a vented hat if you do go outside.

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And this is important: If you have a headache, you're sweating, have fatigue, dizziness, nausea, or lightheadedness, those are signs you're getting sick, and you might need help.

“If you or your friend or loved one is experiencing confusion or loss of consciousness, that is a clear sign that you need advanced medical support and that means you have to go to the hospital or to that emergency room,” advised Dr. Stefan Wheat with University of Washington Emergency Medicine. “And the reason that is, is that's a sign of heat stroke. which is the life-threatening medical emergency that we worry about most.”

He also suggests keeping in touch with your friends and family who might be more susceptible to heat illnesses to make sure they're doing ok.