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First heat wave of season brings usual warnings

While the residents of Pahrump have been enjoying mostly sunny weather the past few weeks, it has been partnered with relatively cool temperatures.

Now comes the heat.

The National Weather Service predicted temperatures would hit 100 degrees on Tuesday, starting a steady climb to 106 on Thursday, bringing with it an excessive heat watch through Saturday. The heat will be the result of a high-pressure system that’s expected to move through the region.

Good thing the town pool opened last weekend.

It should go without saying at this point that desert heat can pose serious health risks to anyone, especially the children, the elderly and people with poor circulation and weight problems. The homeless, without easy access to air conditioning and water are also at risk.

Nevada led the nation in heat-related fatalities last year with 25, more than double the 12 reported in 2014, according to the National Weather Service. The next closest state was Texas with five.

Most heat-related medical issues occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has overexercised for his or her age and physical condition. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps and dizziness.

Eight of the state’s 25 heat-related deaths last year happened outside.

This next statement should also go without saying, but children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles. N.E.V.E.R.

Temperatures in a car can rise to 120 degrees when outdoor temperatures are in the 90s.

Common sense, but every year there is a tragedy in Southern Nevada where the heat claims a life in an enclosed car. Nevada led the nation again last year in vehicle deaths related to heat with three, up from two in 2014.

Besides the tragedy of losing a life, the person responsible is also prosecuted, causing the family to likely lose two members.

It is also important to check on elderly neighbors or relatives, as well as those who are disabled. While there is greater risk outside, more heat-related deaths happened indoors than outdoors last year, with 10 coming in permanent housing, such as a house, apartment or mobile home.

Pets also should have access to lots of shade and water when outdoors.

Our neighbors to the east, Clark County, issued a series of health safety tips on Tuesday ahead of the region’s first heat wave.

■ Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty.

■ Limit intake of alcoholic beverages, which contribute to dehydration.

■ Always carry plenty of water with you and a mobile phone.

■ You never know what might happen during the day that could keep you outdoors longer than anticipated.

■ Dress for summer. Clothing that is loose, lightweight and light-colored reflects heat and sunlight.

■ Use sunscreen with a high SPF to protect against sunburn and skin cancer.

■ Look in on friends and family, especially the elderly who may need help adjusting to the heat.

■ Limit errands and outdoor activities to before noon or in the evening to avoid being out during the hottest part of the day.

■ Always assign a designated child watcher when children are near a pool or any body of water.

It would also be a good time to call an air conditioning company and make sure your unit is ready for the hot summer.

Another good idea is to get your air ducts cleaned every three to five years to put less strain on your air conditioning unit and provide better air flow.

I just had it done at my house and the difference was immediately noticeable.

Arnold M. Knightly is the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times

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