Multiple days with triple digit temperatures has kept many Sampson residents inside but it hasn’t caused any serious health issues as of yet, officials say, continuing to urge caution even as the temperatures retreat somewhat over the next few days.
Forecasters are predicting cloudy and cooler temperatures through Friday, with a potential for showers and thunderstorms nearly every day. But even with a drop in temperatures, health officials note that it’s important to still be on the lookout for symptoms of heat-related illnesses, some of which may not show up as quickly as others.
That’s particularly true, they said, of senior citizens and young children, two groups often greatly impacted by the above-normal temperatures being experienced over the past several weeks.
So far, though, Sampson has fared well.
Sampson Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Amber Cava said Monday there has been no report of an increase in heat cases at Sampson Regional nor the Urgent Care Center.
“Fortunately, we have not seen any increases,” Cava pointed out. “We still advise people to be safe in the heat, however. The effects of the heat are accumulative and are many times not notable until long after the exposure to the extreme heat.”
Lorie Sutton, director of the Sampson County Department on Aging, echoed Cava, saying that Aging staff had had no heat-related reports.
“That does not mean that there has been none. We just have not received any reports,” Sutton stressed.
Toward that cause, Sutton’s department has handed out all of the over 50 fans they had last Monday to people in need through Operation Fan Relief.
“All our fans are gone. We have even had to turn down some people that needed them because we have given all we had. We would be happy to have someone to donate additional fans or even air conditioners to help our seniors get through the summer and survive against the heat,” asserted Sutton.
Donations can be made through Sampson’s Department of Aging.
And while the state is expected to get some relief from the drastically hot temperatures, most expect that the summer heat wave is far from over, bringing more urging from Cava to use precaution during the summer months.
“We (SRMC) are suggesting that people, especially senior adults and children, seek shade, wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water, reduce sun exposure during the hottest parts of the day, wear clothing that breathes well, and never leave children unattended in a vehicle,” she stressed.
Additionally Cava advised people with respiratory conditions to minimize outdoor activity in the hottest part of the day, especially when the humidity is forecast to be high. “Early morning is the best time for outdoor activities. Keep rescue inhalers with you and an adequate supply of portable oxygen if you have to be away from your machine at home,” urged Cava.
Vets and other animal care professionals are also urging caution when dealing with animals, reminding everyone not to forget their pets during the summer months.
Lynn Stillwell, Sampson County extension agent, shared that the recent jump in temperature and humidity poses many threats to the poultry and swine industry as well as to other animals, including pets.
“Animals suffering from heat stress will have a reduced feed intake, they may be lethargic and the number of moralities is likely to increase. Most farmers today are very good at making sure their animals stay cool during this extreme heat. As pet owners, it is important that you ensure you pet is protected during this time of extremely high temperatures and high humidity. If your animals have to remain outside, try to provide some shade and provide them with clean cool water,” shared the agent.
Cava and Sutton stressed that just because the temperatures may fall this week, it is no time to stop thinking about heat-related illnesses. They both shared that because the effects from the heat can often go undetected for long periods of time, it is important to keep a continued watch on the seniors and young children.
Stillwell added that this is true of livestock and pets as well.