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Preparing for the heat wave: Self-care and resources in Charlotte

Doctors say across North Carolina, this week’s UV Index is expected to be in the very high range.
Doctors say across North Carolina, this week’s UV Index is expected to be in the very high range.
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As we prepare for the heatwave to come, WBTV is on your side with resources to escape the heat and protect yourself.

Doctors say across North Carolina, this week’s UV Index is expected to be in the very high range.

They say within 15 minutes, your skin could be damaged from the sun if it’s not protected.

Doctors say, having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.

For the most up-to-the-minute updates, download the WBTV Weather App.

One really bad sunburn when you were a child or teenager more than doubles your chances of getting melanoma later on in life.

Doctors say, having five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.

Dermatologists say you want to wear sunscreen from age six months and up.

For an average adult-sized person, you should use a shot glass of sunscreen on your entire body with every application.

An SPF of 30 is generally protective for most skin cancers. Every two hours, apply when you’re out in the sun.

Keep in mind, that people of all skin colors can get skin cancer and premature aging.

According to Novant Health’s Dr. Alyssa Daniel, “Even brown or black skin can get more aggressive sun damage the more that they’re exposed so I tend typically to say for everyone...it is useful and helpful to maintain that aspect of skincare.”

Beyond sunscreen, you can wear sun-protective clothing, including clothes with UPF.

Of course, having a place to cool off is also important. When the temperatures get this high, it becomes a huge concern for people experiencing homelessness, because they may spend a lot of time outside.

Homeless service provider Roof Above stands ready to help. It has a Day Services Center (945 N College St.) open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The center could see anywhere between 200 and 300 people a day. It has fans, misting units, showers, and indoor seating to keep cool. You can also wash your clothes and there’s lunch every day, which is their busiest time.

According to Roof Above’s VP of Engagement Randall Hitt, “They’re people that have vulnerabilities, and preexisting conditions, and COPD, and all kinds of things that make it very difficult when you are spending so much time outdoors so high concerns when this heatwave hits us.”

Keep in mind, that people of all skin colors can get skin cancer and premature aging.

Hitt says they go through 60 cases of water a week.

If you want to donate water, towels, or laundry detergent, that would be much appreciated. Find more information here: www.roofabove.org.

WBTV’s Dee Dee Gatton also spoke to Medic, which says, they see an increase in calls as the temperature goes up, especially above 90 degrees.

Medic says they anticipate not only heat-related calls but calls from people with conditions that the heat makes worse, which is people with heart problems or breathing problems.

Any time the weather gets this hot, Medic says there’s a greater chance for heat-related injuries for people who are homeless or are working outside.

They get calls about people being unconscious that turn out to be heat-related.

Medic says if someone seems really confused out in the sun, that could be a sign of a heat stroke that could be life-threatening.

In these kinds of weather events, Medic says they do have enough staff to cover their 911 system.

Mecklenburg EMS Agency’s Lester Oliva says, “We do triage calls which means if someone is calling for heat-related injury and they’re just tired and dehydrated, and someone else calls and they’re having a heart attack, we’ll adjust our response to go to the heart attack and give the person on the phone some instruction while we get another ambulance on the way.”

You’re urged to drink lots of water and do activities in the early morning or late at night when temperatures go down.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office said the following:

“The procedure for extreme heat events is that Mecklenburg County, with consultation from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management, makes the determination on whether they plan to expand existing County services for the entire population to accommodate the extreme heat. At this time, all services are functioning at standard operations. Should this change, more information will be made available.

They recommend the following heat safety tips:

Be Safe During Extreme Heat

  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car on a warm day
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
  • Avoid high-energy activities or work outdoors, during the midday heat, if possible
  • Check on family members, seniors, and neighbors

Heat Stroke

  • Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F) taken orally
  • Red, hot and dry skin with no sweat
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Dizziness, confusion or unconsciousness
  • If you suspect heatstroke, call 9-1-1 immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives "

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