Denver7 | Weather


Forecasts say it's going to be a hot summer. Here's how to stay safe in the heat

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jun 05, 2024

AURORA, Colo. — Recent trends will likely continue, and the upcoming summer season could be another hot one, meaning an increased risk of heat stroke.

“The heat is on across Colorado,” said Denver7 meteorologist Danielle Grant. “We've been watching our climate steadily warming over the past 30 to 50 years here in our state. And once again, that's going to be the forecast heading into June, July and August.”

Climate models show temperatures will be above average this summer.

“About a 40 to 70 percent chance that we will see warmer than average conditions day in and day out,” said Grant. “And what this tells me, once again, is just the fact that we are going to be looking, potentially, at more 90-degree days. Possibly even more 100-degree days here in our state.”

Increased heat means increased chances of heat-related illness.

“The most basic one is heat cramps,” said Eric Hill, EMS medical director of The Medical Center of Aurora. “That’s when your muscles kind of tighten up. It's usually just an electrolyte problem. Your next level is heat exhaustion and heat exhaustion is… you're fatigued, you're tired, you're typically still sweating… You definitely need to get out of the heat. At this point, you're in danger of going into heatstroke.”

Hill said heat stroke is a true medical emergency that needs immediate attention.

“Heat stroke is really the true medical emergency,” said Hill. "You’re no longer able to think clearly. Your mental status has decreased. You may be barely responsive. And if that is not treated, you will die.”

To protect yourself when it gets hot out, take a 30-minute break in the shade for every 15 minutes working out in the sun. Start hydrating yourself properly a day before you know you will be outside, and try to wear the correct clothing.

“Really tight restrictive clothing makes you more susceptible to heat-related injury,” said Hill. “Making sure that you wear light, loose clothing... it's breathable, that allows water to evaporate on you… one of your body's compensatory mechanisms is to let water evaporate on you.”

Forecasts say it's going to be a hot summer. Here's how to stay safe in the heat

The heat isn’t the only important factor in staying safe outside this year. You should also pay attention to the humidity.

“Unfortunately, we once again are looking at drier than normal conditions for much of the state,” said Grant. “In fact, the Climate Prediction Center is indicating that we're going to have drier than average conditions for June, July and August.”

“When it's really low humidity, we just lose water like crazy,” said Hill. “So even though we're actually sweating in Colorado, we don't really feel it.”

If you think someone might be suffering from a heat-related illness, try to cool them down. Get them out of the sun and into the shade. If they are alert and conscious, have them drink water. If they are not responsive, don’t try to put water in their mouth. If you think someone is suffering from extreme heat exhaustion or heat stroke, call 911.

“Once we get there, we have the ability to not only get them out of that environment and into a cooled environment,” said Hill. “But we also have the intravenous fluids to help kind of start restoring those body processes.”

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