Summer starts with dangerous heat

Thursday, June 21, 2012

People in the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys were trying to beat the heat Wednesday. At the pool or in the shade, everyone was looking for a way to escape the oppressive heat that blasted into the area.

Wednesday marked day one of high temperatures and humidity that were expected to stick around for the next couple of days.

The summertime weather arrived right on cue for the arrival of the Summer Solstice.

But come haze, heat, or humidity, it was still time to make the sandwiches at Rocco's Italian Sausage Stand in South Philadelphia.

"I'm keeping cool, drinking a lot of water," said Marilis Ocasio.

Air conditioners and fans were flying off the shelves at the Home Depot on Delaware Avenue.

The city opened fire plugs like the one on Tasker Street; much to the delight of kids from the neighborhood.

And, of course, there were always the daring souls who go outside for a workout regardless of conditions. But Saulo Pena from Northern Liberties admits it took a little time to convince his aunt to come out for their daily walk down Boathouse Row.

In Philadelphia, the city's highs in the next couple of days could break decades-old records of 98 degrees, set in 1931, and 99, set in 1923. Normally, the high for Philadelphia is about 84 degrees.

And a heat advisory is in effect for the area with special warnings for groups who need to take extra precautions: very young children, the elderly, the obese and people on certain medications, including anti-histamines, anti-psychotics and some blood pressure and Parkinson's drugs.

Warning signs for heat exhaustion include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and headaches. These symptoms can progress to life-threatening heat stroke. Heat stroke symptoms include, hot dry skin and confusion or a loss of consciousness.

And because of the excessive heat the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging has activated its heat line.

It will be open until midnight Wednesday, and any senior that needs help in the heat should call 215-765-9040.

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