Oneida County Urges Caution & Safety as Extreme Heat Approaches

Elderly, Children & Pets at Highest Risk

With 90-degree weather forecast for the weekend and into next week, and the heat index possibly reaching over 100 degrees, Oneida County is urging residents to take the necessary precautions to remain safe under extreme heat conditions.

“When temperatures climb this high, and the heat index bumps them up even higher, everyone needs to be very careful,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “I’m sure many people have plans for the Fourth of July that they are looking forward to, but we all must be wary of prolonged exposure to the heat and be vigilant in keeping cool and staying hydrated as much as possible. Especially our most vulnerable residents and pets.”

Extreme heat can trigger heat-related illness or heat stroke, where the body is unable to control its temperature. Body temperature increases fast, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body cannot cool down. The average person can overheat and get dehydrated easily in hot and humid weather.

Some people are at increased risk for heat-related illness, including children, older adults and those with chronic health conditions. Older adults and children have a more difficult time adjusting to sudden changes in temperature. Certain prescription medications can also affect the body’s ability to control temperature and sweat. Extreme heat and humidity can also worsen respiratory problems such as asthma, because of a decrease in air quality.

“While seniors and children are most susceptible, heat-related illnesses can strike anyone and should not be taken lightly,” said Oneida County Health Department Director Phyllis Ellis. “It is extremely important to monitor your body and be aware of any warning signs. If symptoms manifest, react quickly and seek medical attention if necessary.”

The following are possible signs and symptoms of heat-related illness:

• Hot, red skin
• Fast pulse
• Headache/Dizziness
• Nausea
• Confusion
• Fatigue
• Losing consciousness/passing out

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms get them inside and seek medical attention.

The following are some tips to protect oneself during extreme heat:

• Stay hydrated. Drink during meals, and throughout the day before you become thirsty. Avoid caffeinated drinks.

• Avoid strenuous activity

• Stay in a cool, air-conditioned area when possible. Shopping malls, libraries, senior centers and cooling centers are options if you do not have air conditioning in your home.

• Avoid being outside during the peak hours of heat/sun, usually between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

• Wear light weight, light-colored clothing.

• Check on older adults and make sure they are staying cool. Do not leave children or pets in cars. Cars heat up quickly in the summer even with windows open.

• Wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15 or higher at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapply according to package instructions.

“Family members, friends and neighbors of older individuals, especially those who do not typically leave their residences, should check on them periodically during this time of extreme heat and humidity,” said Oneida County Office for the Aging & Continuing Care Director Michael Romano. “They are at a greater risk for heat-related illnesses due to weakened cardiovascular systems, especially those having chronic lung and heart disease.”

For more information on extreme heat and safety please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html

For local cooling centers please visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/