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It's hot, but not a record

July 19, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY

karenh@herald-mail.com

Richie Turner, 38, of Hagerstown, has a reply for people who complain about the summertime, sauna-like temperatures.

"It hasn't got real hot yet - give it time," said Turner, who sat outside talking to friends Monday at the intersection of Potomac and Washington streets.

Down the street, the Hagerstown Trust bank sign indicated a temperature of 90 degrees just before 6 p.m.

People need to respect the heat, Dr. Thomas Gilbert said.

"If they've got to work outside - if their job requires them to work outside - they should drink plenty of fluids, especially sports drinks, such as Gatorade," said Gilbert, chairman for emergency medicine at Washington County Hospital.

According to i4weather.net, a Hagerstown weather Web site operated by Greg Keefer, Monday's high temperature was 90 degrees. That's hardly as sultry as the all-time mercury busters for July 18 - 100 degrees in 1997 and 1986.

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Last month's average temperature of 73.4 degrees makes June 2005 the seventh-warmest on record, according to the Web site.

According to Calvin Meadows, a National Weather Service meteorologist, hot, sticky July days are not unusual.

"This is normal weather for this part of the country," said Meadows, who works in Sterling, Va.

According to Gilbert, about a half dozen or more people have visited the hospital in the past few days because of the heat.

"We've had a few heat casualties over the last several days," Gilbert said.

According to Gilbert, patients were treated with intravenous fluids and cooling measures, but none required hospitalization.

Gilbert said the elderly, children and people on certain types of medication are particularly susceptible to overheating.

People should wear light clothing and avoid alcohol during hot spells, Gilbert said. He suggested staying inside, using a fan or taking a walk in the mall to beat the heat.

People who experience nausea, vomiting, light-headedness or headache because of exposure to the heat should seek medical attention, Gilbert said.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, people aren't the only ones suffering in the heat.

The organization suggests drivers run errands in the mornings and evenings and refuel after dark to limit gas evaporation. Drivers should avoid using the air-conditioning system in stop-and-go traffic, and they should leave space between vehicles, so one vehicle's engine does not draw in the exhaust of the other in front of it.

According to the organization, more AAA members request road service during hot weather months than cold weather months.

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