Scorching asphalt, concrete not suitable for feet and paws

Be mindful of this summertime threat, which will outlast our historic heat wave. 

Calling the heat wave gripping the Pacific Northwest the region’s ‘hottest ever’ is no hyperbole.  Many communities, including Seattle and Portland, have experienced record high temperatures during the past few scorching days.  A long list of health risks accompanies such extreme heat, with one subtle danger lingering on the ground.

“We've seen some injuries over the weekend of burns from the asphalt to children's feet,” says Dr. Beth Ebel, a UW Medicine pediatrician at Harborview Medical Center. “The roads are melting in places here. It is ferociously hot. Do not have your kid running around barefoot when they can be on that kind of hot surface. You’ve got to get the shoes on.”

Ebel says pets are also vulnerable to these burns. Research has shown that surface temperatures of sidewalks and streets in direct sunlight can be dozens of degrees hotter than the air temperature.

“Go for that early morning walk or the very late evening walk, but just remember that their paws can burn, too,” Ebel says.

Download soundbites with Dr. Beth Ebel discussing hot surfaces, along with a suggestion to check in on your neighbors during extreme weather.

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UW Medicine