Excessive heat, air quality ‘Code Orange’ warning issued for Philly and surrounding areas

 In this July 18, 2012 file photo, Jazia Pratt, 8, fills a bucket with water from a fire hydrant in the afternoon summer heat in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

In this July 18, 2012 file photo, Jazia Pratt, 8, fills a bucket with water from a fire hydrant in the afternoon summer heat in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Heat and air quality are at dangerous levels in and around Philadelphia today.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued a “Code Orange Air Quality Action Day” for the city and surrounding counties today.

Residents in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties should be aware that on “Code Orange” days, “young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

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Those at risk include people who:

Suffer from a medical condition.
Take certain prescription and non-prescription medicines. (Talk to your doctor and pharmacist to see if your medications can make you feel the heat more.)
Are over 50 or under 5 years old.
Are significantly overweight.
Have suffered from a heat-related illness before.
Drink alcohol.
Work in extremely hot conditions.
Are active.

With temperatures in the mid-90s elevated ozone levels are expected to last just today, as thunderstorms are forcasted to move in this evening. Friday’s weather forecast promises increased clouds and higher chance of thunderstorms, with air quality further improving into the weekend.

Due to extreamly hot conditions, the City of Philadelphia is “implementing special measures” and are offering the following tips to stay cool:

Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Stay out of the sun. When in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15).
Avoid working or playing outside between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Do not leave children, pets, or individuals requiring special care in a parked car during periods of extreme heat.
Slow down. Rest in the shade or a cool place when you can.
Wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothes.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella for shade.
Read your medication labels. Some medications can cause an adverse reaction in hot weather. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you need more information.
Use air conditioners and fans. If you use a fan, make sure your windows are open to release trapped hot air.
Use drapes, shades, louvers, or awnings in your home. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters the home by up to 80 percent.
Visit a friend with air conditioning or spend time in a cool place like a mall, library, or senior center.
Take a cool shower or bath.

Check out the Stay Cool Interactive Map to see all of the city’s cooling centers, spray grounds, and pools; download the Stay Cool guide for more information. During excessive heat, remember to check up on elderly or at-risk friends and neighbors. For help, call the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging heat line at (215) 765-9040.

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