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Maryland, DC Temperatures Rise, Forcing Residents Inside

Temperatures in Maryland and Washington, DC, may reach almost 100 degrees this week. What do you do to stay cool?

During the summer, they’re considered unhealthy, forcing pool and beach lovers inside. 

Rachel Ugarte, a Washington, DC, resident, says she sometimes brings her 16-month-old son Antonio to play in downtown Silver Spring’s fountain park, but often, she says they spend hot summer days in cool locations like public libraries.

“When I moved here from California I thought we’d be out in the pools, but it’s too hot,” Ugarte said. 

Errol George, Prince George’s County assistant fire chief, recommends that residents try to stay inside as much as possible when the weather is extremely hot. 

“If you’re doing yard work, try and do it in spurts of maybe 15 minutes at a time, taking frequent breaks in a cooler area and making sure to drink plenty of water,” he said. 

Often, people don’t realize that when they actually feel thirsty their bodies have already gone beyond a safe point of dehydration, so it’s important to hydrate before you feel thirsty, George said. 

High temperatures are often classified as a Code Orange when they reach air quality indices between 101 and 150, according to the AIRNow program, making it unhealthy for people with problems like asthma or allergies.

According to AIRNow, the DC and Baltimore areas will reach an air quality index of around 106 this week. 

In order to stay cool during these upcoming hot days, Mary Anderson, Montgomery County Health Department’s public information officer,  recommends wearing a hat and lightweight clothing, drinking lots of fluids and taking extra precautions when outside. These recommendations are especially important for young children and seniors. 

“When Antonio was five months old he had a heat rash, so I realized we’d have to spend more time inside,” Ugarte says. “He loves to socialize and be outside, so it’s hard.” 

Anderson says the health department stresses the importance of checking on elderly neighbors because they may have a slightly different thermostat. 

“They may bundle up too much in the heat or may be reluctant to turn on the air conditioning because they’re concerned about the cost, and that can be a real issue,” she said. 

The county’s health department makes fans available to low-income, elderly residents through the aging and disability resource unit, Anderson said.

Riverdale Park’s Volunteer Fire Department President Steve Lamphier says it’s important to pay attention to signs of hypothermia, which include dizziness, feeling faint, vomiting or headaches. 

“For us as firefighters it’s very important to stay hydrated because we sweat a lot and lose a lot of water wearing our protective gear, so we always carry ice water on the trucks,” Lamphier says, adding that staying hydrated is the best guard against hypothermia.

Laura L Thornton (Editor) June 20, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I love the "cooling coat" on the little dog in the video!
Sonia Dasgupta (Editor) June 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM
I want the little girl's ice cream cone. That sounds delicious on a day like today!
Don Risher June 20, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Being a heating & cooling contractor I thought I’d share a few tips on staying cool on hot days. To help produce a comfortable breeze or “wind-chill” that cools your skin, your ceiling fan blades should rotate in a reverse or counter clockwise motion. The air movement has the same comfortable effect as when you fan yourself with a magazine to get relief from hot, stifling air. If you take your garden hose and gently rinse the outside of your AC unit coils, you can lower the air temperature coming from your registers by 10+ degrees. Warm regards, Don Risher VP info@BelairEngineering.com
Laura L Thornton (Editor) June 20, 2012 at 05:33 PM
And I want a human-sized cooling coat in Patch green...
Laura L Thornton (Editor) June 20, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Thanks, Don! These are great tips. Last week, I randomly looked into my air conditioning unit, and found that the vent was covered with gunk, and the filter was covered with dust. I cleaned it all up asap, and the air conditioner is running much more quietly and much more effectively now. Last year, one of my air conditioners froze over from the gunk, and I had to replace the unit. I am determined not to let that happen again! My problem is that my ac units overlook a busy city street (I'm in an apartment building in DC), so a lot of gunk gets drawn into the units, and I can't access the units from outside - only inside. But I couldn't believe how much gunk there was...
AntonFisher June 20, 2012 at 06:52 PM
When chlorinated municipal water sprayed on the condenser aluminum fins regularly, they will corrode (degrade). Additionally, the effectiveness of the unit will decrease significantly since spraying water will increase humidity. In the long run, it is will not be worth it since maintenance cost will increase and gradually you will be killing your condenser unit by spraying it with chlorinated water.

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