PARKERSBURG - The area remains under an excessive heat warning throughout the day today as temperatures reach into the upper 90s.
The area was under a heat advisory throughout the day Wednesday.
Tim Axford of the National Weather Service said it felt warmer than it was in the Mid-Ohio Valley with the high at 97 degrees with heat index and an actual temperature of 89 degrees.
A girl holds her nose as she prepares to hit the cool water of the Belpre city swimming pool from the waterslide Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
"Didn't even cross the 100-degree threshold," he said.
The warmest city in the service's area was Huntington, which had a heat index of 106 degrees on Wednesday.
According to the National Weather Service, the Mid-Ohio Valley may see up to 96 degrees with a heat index of 107 degrees today, but the heat wave is not expected to last.
"We should, hopefully, start to break out of this by the end of the week," Axford said. "During the weekend the area should start to see a new weather pattern with cooler temperatures beginning on Saturday."
With the heat rising so is the possibility of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Officials with the Camden Clark Medical Center said they have not gotten any heat-related illnesses in the emergency departments.
Lori Short, a paramedic with Camden-Clark Ambulance Service, said there have been people with heart problems who have had trouble breathing.
''The heat can aggravate medical problems,'' she said, adding blood pressure, anti-depressants and other medications can be heat sensitive.
Short said people need to consult with their doctors to see what kind of effect the heat might have on their medications.
Jennifer Offenberger with Marietta Memorial Health System, which owns Marietta Memorial and Selby General hospitals, said their emergency rooms have seen only one case of heat exhaustion.
"I guess it's a good thing because it means that most people are paying attention to the advisory and staying indoors," she said.
People who have to be outside working are advised to take regular breaks, wear light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water to keep themselves hydrated, Short said.
They are advised to avoid drinks with a lot of caffeine as that can increase blood pressure. People are advised to avoid drinks with a lot of sugar as well as so-called energy drinks.
For those starting to succumb to the heat, their pulse can be accelerated; they could be dizzy or weak; they could experience muscle cramps and nausea and they could experience chest pains. Those experiencing heat stroke could be experiencing seizures.
''Heat stroke is life threatening,'' Short said.
If people begin to feel uneasy while out, they are advised to get in the shade, drink fluids or go inside to cool off in the air conditioning, if it is available.
People are reminded to look in on elderly neighbors who may not have air conditioning and to check on pets, Short said.
At least two cooling centers will be open in Marietta for those who need a break from the heat. Those locations are Marietta City Hall, 301 Putnam St., and the Washington County Red Cross, 401 Fourth St., Marietta.