NEW CITY, NY, – – Very hot weather and humidity are forecast to continue this week. Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert urge residents to take simple steps to stay cool and help prevent heat-related illnesses.
“Every year, many people suffer from the negative health effects of extreme heat. While summertime heat and humid weather can be dangerous for anyone, it is especially dangerous for older adults, young children, and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart problems and breathing or lung problems,” said Dr. Ruppert.
Hot weather can be dangerous, but there are many steps to protect yourself and your family to prevent or reduce heat-related problems with the following tips:
- Never leave children, pets, or people with special needs in a parked car, even briefly. Temperatures in the car can become dangerous within a few minutes, so motorists should always check no one is left inside their vehicle before locking it up.
- Use air-conditioning to cool down. If you do not have air conditioning, spend time in air-conditioned places such as libraries, movie theaters, malls, town and village halls, or other public buildings during the hottest hours of the day. Cooling centers are places where people may go to cool down during hot weather. Before going to a place to cool down, it’s important to call ahead to make sure it’s open.
- Drink plenty of fluids – don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink more fluids. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks. If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot. Make sure children and older adults are drinking water and ensure that persons with mobility problems have adequate fluids in easy reach.
- Beat the heat with cool showers and baths.
- Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Avoid activities that involve a lot of energy or effort during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and take many breaks from physical activity.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help keep cool.
- Wear sunscreen and a lightweight hat (straw or mesh is best) outdoors, even if it is cloudy.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about any medicine or drugs you are taking. Certain medications can increase the risk of sun or heat-related illness. Be aware that some medicines can cause the skin to burn more easily or affect the body’s ability to sweat and stay cool. Talk to your doctor about possible heat or sun-related side effects of your medication, and do NOT stop taking medication unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
- Check on your neighbors, such as older adults or those in poor health, to see if they need assistance.
- Pets can suffer from heat-related illness too. Never leave your pet in a parked car. Cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures quickly, even with a window cracked open. Roads, sidewalks, and gravel can get very hot and burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible, and bring lots of water on walks.
“My best advice is to avoid being out in this weather at all, but if you have to be outside, take it easy and drink lots of water. I also ask residents to check in on your older neighbors and those with poor health as they are the most vulnerable during this type of heat and humidity,” said County Executive Day.
High heat and humidity can also lead to unhealthy levels of ozone, a gas produced by the action of sunlight on organic air pollutants from vehicle exhaust and other sources. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation forecasts daily ozone conditions at (http://www.dec.ny.gov) or call the New York State Air Quality Hotline at 1-800-535-1345.
For more information about keeping cool in the summer heat, visit the New York State Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/emergency/weather/hot/. Updates on weather conditions are available from the National Weather Service www.weather.gov.