PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With the heat wave likely to continue through the weekend, Providence is increasing the availability of emergency cooling centers and outdoor water parks to help residents beat the heat.

Temperatures have topped 90º the past four days, and feel-like temperatures have soared to 100º at times.

The capital city’s pools and water parks will be open from noon to 7 p.m. throughout the weekend, though the pools will not be open on Sunday.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued an Air Quality Alert for Washington and Newport counties this Saturday.

The DEM predicts the air quality will be unhealthy Wednesday afternoon and into the evening in those communities.

Rhode Islanders in those communities are urged to stay indoors if possible, especially in the afternoon and evening hours when ozone levels are highest.

Since unhealthy ozone levels can make it difficult to breathe, the DEM is also warning against exercising or working outdoors throughout the day, since strenuous activity can exacerbate a person’s symptoms.

The extreme heat is expected to last through the weekend.

The combination of high temperatures and elevated humidity can be dangerous for older adults, those with chronic medical conditions, infants and children, people who work outside and athletes.

That’s why communities across the state have opened cooling centers for residents who need to escape the heat.

Full list of cooling centers around Rhode Island »

The American Red Cross is reminding everyone to take the proper precautions when temperatures soar:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Use the buddy system when working in excessive heat.
  • Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, spend much of their time alone or are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure they are not suffering from the heat.

It’s also important to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses, which happen when a person’s body is unable to cool itself off properly.

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