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WEATHER ALERT KEEP COOL AND KEEP A EYE OUT FOR THE FRAIL, OLD AND AT RISK POPULATION
Health Department Urges New Yorkers to Take
Precautions and Help The Vulnerable During Extreme Heat
Use Air Conditioning to Stay Cool, Drink Water to Avoid
Dehydration, Check on Vulnerable Family, Friends, and Neighbors
Centers Remain Open Citywide Through Saturday
July 6, 2012 – The Department of
Health and Mental Hygiene today warned New Yorkers of health risks from the
dangerously hot weather forecast for tomorrow, following several days of hotter
than normal weather. The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat
watch for tomorrow, with temperatures forecast to reach near 100 degrees and
humidity that will make it feel even hotter. The Health Department urges New
Yorkers to take precautions to prevent serious illness that can result from the
heat, especially among vulnerable individuals such as seniors and those with
chronic health problems or mental disability.
“Prolonged heat exposure can kill,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.
“There are hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are vulnerable because of
age or health conditions. After several days of hotter than normal summer
weather and more extreme heat on the way, it is important for New Yorkers check
in on your vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they don’t
have air conditioning or live alone. Make sure they are in an air-conditioned
place and they’re staying hydrated.” New Yorkers are advised to use air
conditioning to stay cool, go to a place that has air conditioning if it is not
available at home, and drink water at regular intervals. Those going outdoors
should limit strenuous activity and avoid exercise during the hottest parts of
the day. City cooling centers will remain open through Sunday to help New Yorkers stay
cool. Cooling centers are public places, such as Department for the Aging (DFTA)
senior centers, and New York City Housing Authority and Salvation Army community
centers, where air conditioning is available. To find the cooling center closest
to you and to check center hours, call 311 (TTY: 212-504-4115) or search
“Cooling Center Locator” at www.nyc.gov.
FACTS ABOUT HEAT ILLNESS
Heat illness is serious. Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and
potentially fatal. The added stress caused by heat can also aggravate heart or
lung disease even without symptoms of heat illness. On
average, heat waves kill more Americans than other natural disasters. The risk
for getting sick during a heat wave is increased for people who:
Do not have or do not use air conditioning
Are age 65 or older
Have chronic medical or mental health conditions or a developmental
disability or dementia
Take certain medications, which can disrupt the regulation of body
Are confined to their beds, have trouble with being mobile, or are unable to
leave their homes
Are overweight or obese
Consume alcohol or illegal drugs.
Know the warning signs of heat stress:
If you (or someone you know) feels weak or faint, go to a cool place and
drink water. If there is no improvement, call a doctor or 911. Call
911 immediately if you have, or someone you know has:
Hot dry skin OR cold clammy skin
Confusion, disorientation, or dizziness
Nausea and vomiting
Ready New York - Beat the Heat Tips:
Use an air conditioner if you have one.
If you do not have an air conditioner, go to a cooler place such as an
air-conditioned family’s, friend’s or neighbor’s home, store, mall, museum, or
movie theater, or, visit a cooling center.
Check on your at-risk family, friends and neighbors often and help them get
to a cool place.
Fans alone will not keep you cool when it is really hot outside.
Conserve by setting your air conditioner to 78 degrees and only cooling
rooms you are using when you are at home.
Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked
Avoid strenuous activity, or plan it for the coolest part of the day,
usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. or in the evening. If you
exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A
sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are
used to regular exercise, just keep in mind the symptoms of heat illness when
exercising and stop or rest if any occur.
Bathing or showering with cool (not cold) water can be helpful for those
able to do so safely.
Spray Caps & Fire Hydrants:
Opening fire hydrants without spray caps is wasteful and dangerous. Illegally
opened hydrants can lower water pressure, which can cause problems at hospitals
and other medical facilities and hinder fire-fighting by reducing the flow of
water to hoses and pumps. The powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray
cap can also push children into oncoming traffic. Call 311 to report an open
hydrant. Hydrants can be opened legally if equipped with a City-approved spray cap.
One illegally opened hydrant wastes up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute,
while a hydrant with a spray cap only puts out around 25 gallons per minute.
Spray caps can be obtained by someone 18 or over, free of charge at local
firehouses. For more information on the health effects associated with
extreme heat search “heat illness” at www.nyc.gov/.