July 18, 2019

Oneida County Offers Extreme Heat Safety Tips

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The Oneida County Health Department is reminding residents to take precautions during extreme hot weather.

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.

“The extreme heat can make you feel anywhere from slightly uncomfortable to very sick and it can even be fatal.” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. “But heat-related deaths are preventable if you take care of yourself and watch out for your family and neighbors."

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 someone you know is experiencing these symptoms get them inside and seek medical attention. Have them sip water slowly, loosen clothing and apply cool wet cloths to neck, face and arms.

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 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 30 or higher at least 30 minutes before going outside and reapply according to package instructions.

“It is important to take extreme heat warnings seriously,” said Oneida County Director of Health Phyllis D.Ellis, BSN, MS, F.A.C.H.E. “Adjust your activities according to recommendations and pay attention signals from your body so that you are playing it safe in these extreme temperatures.”

For more information on extreme heat and safety go to: https://www.cdc.gov/extreme-heat/about/index.html

To find a local cooling center, visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/weather/cooling/

Oneida County Partners