Heat wave in forecast: 'Most common cause of weather-related deaths'

      EUGENE, Ore. - So long, drenching rains. Hello, extreme heat.

      Forecasters expect an abrupt shift from this week's unseasonably cool, moist weather to hot summer weather by Friday.

      Temperatures could push 90 F or higher in the Willamette Valley, with parts of southern Oregon and northern California facing temperatures in the triple digits.

      Learn more about:

      And that old saw about a "dry heat" and cool nights won't apply at first.

      "Humidity left over from our recent rains will make it feel muggier than usual," forecasters said, "and nights will be slow to cool off."

      Beyond the discomfort of sticking to the bed sheets, high temperatures carry serious health risks.

      "Extreme heat events, or heat waves, are the most common cause of weather-related deaths in the United States," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes. "They cause more deaths each year than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined."

      Forecasters encourage the elderly and others susceptible to heat illness to watch weather forecasts as temperatures heat up this week and weekend.

      "Those sensitive to heat should stay tuned for updates over the coming days as details about next week will become clearer," the National Weather Service said. "Now is a good time to consider how best to take a break from the heat in case a prolonged heat wave materializes over the coming days."

      Symptoms of Heat-Induced Ailments

      Dehydration - thirst, less frequent urination

      Prickly heat bumps - irritating skin rash

      Cramps - painful muscle contractions

      Edema - swelling of hands and feet

      Exhaustion / Fatigue - characterized by clammy skin, paleness, dizziness, nausea, fever, and headache

      Symptoms of Heat Stroke

      Seek immediate medical help if you or someone else develops the following symptoms. Heat Stroke is the most severe heat illness and is a life-threatening situation.

      Lethargy, sluggishness

      Rapid heart rate and breathing

      Confusion, disorientation, agitation, irritability

      High body temperature

      Intense muscle aches, fever, diarrhea or nausea

      Convulsing, fainting, seizure, loss of consciousness


      Caring for a Heat Stroke Victim Until Help Arrives

      While you are waiting for help to arrive you can assist the person by doing the following:

      Get the person out of the heat to a cooler environment. Take them indoors if possible.

      Fan the person with a newspaper or towel to cool the body.

      Loosen or remove clothing and sprinkle the skin lightly with water.

      Elevate feet to direct blood flow back toward the head.

      If available, apply icepacks to the groin area or armpits.

      Risk of Heat Related Illness

      Some people are at greater risk than others to suffer heat-related illness:

      Infants and young children

      People aged 65 and older

      Those persons who are physically ill, or have heart disease or high blood pressure

      Those persons who must work in / wear protective equipment: helmets, respirators, heavy clothing

      How to Beat the Heat - The Do's and Don'ts:


      Use air conditioners or spend time in air-conditioned locations such as malls and libraries

      Use portable electric fans to exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air

      Take a cool bath or shower

      Minimize direct exposure to the sun

      Stay hydrated - regularly drink water or other nonalcoholic fluids

      Eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods such as fruit or salads

      Wear loose fitting, light-colored clothes

      Check on older, sick, or frail people who may need help responding to the heat

      Limit exercise to moderate activity and rest whenever necessary

      Exercise during cooler periods of the day such as the early morning or late evening hours

      Consult your health care provider or pharmacist to see which medicines are affected by excessive heat conditions

      Know the symptoms of excessive heat exposure and the appropriate responses.


      Direct the flow of portable electric fans toward yourself when room temperature is hotter than 90f

      Leave children, the elderly or pets alone in cars for any amount of time

      Drink alcohol, or drinks that contain caffeine or large amounts of sugar to try to stay cool

      Eat heavy, hot, or hard-to-digest foods

      Wear heavy, dark clothing

      Exert yourself excessively