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HEAT ADVISORY: Adverse Health Effects from Extreme Temperatures and Moderate Humidity Across NY State

The following information was received by the New York State Department of Heatlh

The National Weather Service is forecasting dangerous heat conditions to begin across New York State and western New England on Friday, July 19, 2019 and to continue through the weekend. These conditions include extremely high temperatures and moderate humidity levels, especially during the afternoon into the early evening hours.

The NYSDOH is providing this guidance document, as the very high temperatures over the next few days can be dangerous and potentially life threatening for many individuals, particularly for those at a higher risk for heat related illness. Most heat related deaths occur when people are indoors in locations without air conditioning.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people and those with high blood pressure.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion include:

Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and fainting. Skin may be cool and moist. Pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke.

Management of Heat Exhaustion

Move the person to an air-conditioned environment and offer cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Have the person rest or provide them with a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath. Ensure they are wearing lightweight clothing. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke include:

 An extremely high body temperature (above 103'F), red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating), rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness.

Management of Heat Stroke:

Call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Do the following:

• Move the person to a shady area.

• Cool the person rapidly, using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse them in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray them with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap them in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.

• Do not give alcohol to drink.

Heat Cramps

People who sweat a lot during strenuous activity are prone to heat cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion. People with heart problems or those on a low-sodium diet should seek medical attention for heat cramps.

Symptoms of Heat Cramps include:

Muscle pain or spasms - usually in the abdomen, arms or legs.

Management of Heat Cramps

Seek medical attention for heat cramps if they do not subside in 1 hour. If medical attention is not necessary, take the following steps:

• Stop all activity and have the person sit quietly in a cool place.

• Offer clear juice or a sports beverage.

• Inform the person not to return to strenuous activity until after a few hours after the cramps subside because further exertion may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Protective Public Health Messaging

• Be aware of the signs of heat illness and immediately get themselves or any person demonstrating these symptoms to a cool place, have them remove extra clothes, and drink lots of water. If they don’t improve, call 911 or get them to the emergency room right away.

• Avoid strenuous activity and exercise during the hottest part of the day. Instead limit these activities to the early morning hours or in the evening--when the temperatures tend to be lower.

• Drink at least 2-4 glasses of water per hour during extreme heat, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.

• Infants less than 6 months of age should not be given water. On hot days, they can be breastfed more often, or given additional breast milk or formula in a bottle.

• Stay out of the sun and seek air-conditioned settings. If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor of your home, keep the window shades or blinds closed to block the sun, or go to an indoor space with air conditioning (such as libraries, malls, supermarkets, or friends’ homes).

• Take a cool shower or bath using tepid water. Sudden temperature changes may make you feel dizzy or sick.

• If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor (SPF) rating of at least 15 and a hat to protect your face and head. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid direct sun on your body.

More information can be found at: