Too much heat is dangerous
TRI-COUNTY AREA—Warm, sunny days are usually viewed as a good thing, but remember it can get too hot for some people.
The New York State Department of Health states the people most at risk during a heat wave are older adults, children, overweight/obese people, people who don’t normally perspire, people with some chronic heart problems, people working outside or in hot settings, and people with medications that cause sensitivity to the sun. The American Red Cross said everyone is at risk for heat related illnesses when temperatures rise above 90 degrees.
The Yates County Red Cross opened cooling centers at the Dundee American Legion and the Penn Yan United Methodist Church Thursday, from 2 to 6 p.m. Cooling centers offer people a way to get out of the sun for a while and stay safe.
According to the DOH, high temperatures can also lead to the formation of ground level ozone, a major component of smog. The DOH released an Air Quality Health Advisory from Tuesday to Thursday, for all regions of the state.
The Department of Environmental Conservation and DOH issue Air Quality Health Advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100.
The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale, with a higher AQI value leading to a greater health concern. The DEC reported that the AQI for central New York Wednesday morning was 116, or "unhealthy for sensitive groups."
The DOH also said that this surface pollutant should not be confused with the protective layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere. People, especially young children, those who exercise outdoors, those involved in vigorous outdoor work and those who have respiratory disease (such as asthma) should consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity when ozone levels are the highest (generally afternoon to early evening). When outdoor levels of ozone are elevated, going indoors will usually reduce exposure. Individuals experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing should consider consulting a doctor.
The Yates County Office for the Aging offers air conditioning machines to seniors who have a medical need to stay cool. The senior must have a doctor’s referral to qualify. For more, call Tom McCormick at 315-536-5515.
For more on air quality advisories, visit here
The DOH said the most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. The DOH said heat stroke (sun stroke) is an emergency situation, and should be dealt with right away by calling 911 and cooling the person down immediately.
The symptoms of heat stroke include hot, dry, red skin; a rapid pulse; body temperature at or hotter than 105 degrees; loss of alertness; confusion; unconsciousness or coma; and rapid and shallow breathing.
According to the DOH, heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heat stroke, if symptoms worse or if medical help is not gotten. Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy breathing, fainting, vomiting, cold, pale, clammy skin; dizziness, headache, nausea and weakness. If someone is exhibiting these symptoms, they should be moved to a cool place, apply wet cloths to the back of the neck, and have the person sip water slowly.
The Red Cross describes heat cramps as muscular pains and spasms that usually occur in the legs or abdomen. They are caused by exposure to heat and humidity, and loss of fluids. Heat cramps are an early signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
The DOH recommends using air conditioning, or going to an air-conditioned building during a heat wave. The state says for homes without AC to open windows and shades, but leave closed the ones on the sunny side of the house. People should drink lots of water, and wear loose clothing. The DOH says to avoid strenuous activity, and take regular breaks.
For more, visit http://www.nyhealth.gov/publications/1243/.