This article originally appeared on nbc12.com
As central Virginia braces for extreme heat in the coming days, first responders and weather experts warn residents to take it easy.
This intense weather can pose a significant threat and quickly become dangerous if you’re not careful.
“Don’t go outside unless you have to,” Maj. Chad Greedan with Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) said. “Stay indoors, stay cool.”
One of the biggest concerns this weekend is the thousands of fans flocking to the Richmond Raceway for the big Cook Out 400.
NASCAR says they are bringing in extra cooling stations and misting tents to keep fans from overheating.
They are also fully staffed with medics ready to respond to heat-related emergencies.
“When it gets this hot out, we see an increase in volume with mainly people working outside or people overdoing it, not taking enough breaks, not staying hydrated,” Greedan said.
Greedan says RAA is anticipating plenty of heat-related calls.
“They think they can handle it, they think they can deal with it, and it comes on very quickly and affects them, sometimes at dangerous levels,” he said.
The Social Services Marshall Plaza Building and Southside Community Service Center are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day through the worst of the heatwave.
Richmond’s public libraries will also be open if you need a place to go.
“We see an increase in activity down at the river, people trying to stay cool, so we expect those water rescues as well as emergencies with the fire department,” Greedan said.
Other health risks are involved regarding heat exposure, especially for the elderly or those on medications.
“Blood pressure medicines, medicines for your kidneys, they can actually cause you to sometimes have a reaction where you actually get more dehydrated, and you have more kidney injury from the fact that you’re in the sun exposure,” Dr. Steven Lewis with ChenMed said.
Being on antibiotics, antidepressants, antipsychotics and fluid pills can also make you more sensitive to heat-related illnesses.
“You want to make sure that you’re taking breaks…going into the shade, using cold towels, taking cold bottles of water, ice packs, those types of things,” Dr. Lewis said.
Major Greedan also urges everyone driving with young kids or pets to double-check their back seats when leaving the car.