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Scorching temperatures could affect your health

Wednesday - 6/26/2013, 8:35am  ET

Rooftop WJLA weather camera (Courtesy of WJLA)
Hazy skies are seen across Washington, D.C., Wednesday morning. (Courtesy of WJLA)

Sarah Beth Hensley, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Wednesday's scorching temperatures could have serious health implications for those who plan to be outside on what's expected to be the hottest day so far this year.

As the high temperature creep to more than 90 degrees, people should stay indoors and avoid the heat, said Dr. James Rosenthal, emergency room doctor at Washington Adventist Hospital.

"The most important thing to do is to avoid any unnecessary exposure to hot weather and hot, humid conditions," Rosenthal said.

ABC7 Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff predicts a high near 95 degrees Wednesday, but it will feel like 100 at times because of the heat index.

Here is van de Graaff's full forecast:

TODAY: Hazy, hot and humid, 40 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms, some hefty to severe
Highs: Mid 90s with a heat index near 100 degrees
Wind: SW 5-10 mph

OVERNIGHT: Isolated thunderstorms early, otherwise partly cloudy, muggy
Lows: 68-76

TOMORROW: Partly cloudy, hot and steamy, scattered storms - strong to severe
Highs: Low to mid 90s
Wind: South 10-15 mph

FRIDAY: Partly cloudy, not as hot, spotty thundershowers
Highs: Upper 80s

Temperatures typically reach a high of 87 degrees on June 26 in the area, according to data from the National Weather Service. The record high for the day is 101 degrees, set in 1952.

Rosethal suggests that if people have to go outside, drink plenty of water. On a normal day, they should drink six to eight glasses of water a day, but Wednesday calls for better hydration.

"In situations like these extremes of temperature where you're loosing a lot of body water, sometimes without knowing it, I think it's reasonable to increase that by 25 to 50 percent," Rosenthal said.

Also, pass on sports drinks, he added.

"The ones that don't contain caffeine are probably fine. They contain some electrolytes, which are useful, and those are fine, but any popular drinks that contain caffeine and needless to say, any drinks that contain alcohol, are really not good for you in hot weather," Rosenthal said.

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, with hundreds of deaths each year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The organization offers the following heat safety tips:

  • Slow down. Avoid strenuous activities that occur outdoors.
  • Dress for the weather. Put on lightweight and light-colored clothing.
  • Spend time in air-conditioned places. If you can't afford air conditioning, go to a library, store or community center for part of the day.
  • Avoid the sun. Put of sunscreen and avoid sunburn as it reduces the body's ability to dissipate heat.

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