Groups offer advice to survive, beat heat wave

The next few days, full of sunny skies and humid air, will be deceptively dangerous.

The next few days, full of sunny skies and humid air, will be deceptively dangerous.

Thermometers are expected to peak out in the mid-90 degrees during the day. The nights, though cooler at around 70 degrees, will not be cool enough to bring relief.

Keeping cool

A look at ways to keep cool in the hottest weather:

*Stay out of the sun.

* Use air conditioning or open windows on the shady side of the building.

* Take breaks from physical activity and avoid strenuous activity.

* If strenuous activities are necessary, avoid them during the hottest part of the day — between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

* Wear sunscreen.

* Drink plenty of fluids but avoid alcohol and sugary drinks.

* Take cool showers or baths.

* Wear loose, lightweight clothing that is light colored.

* Do not leave pets or children unattended in a parked car; temperatures can rise quickly in a vehicle.

* Check on neighbors, family and friends.

* Ask your health care provider if your medications can increase your risks in hot weather.

SOURCE: Montgomery County Public Health Department

In anticipation, the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning to run from this afternoon until this evening.

The Northeast, with slightly less drastic temperatures, is joining the Midwest, which has been experiencing weeks of triple-digit heat.

The heat in the Midwest could continue until September, but the Northeast will cool down long before then, according to the weather service. But until the heat breaks, it’s a good idea to stay out of the sun and keep hydrated.

Everyone is at risk for heat-related temporary illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash and heat stroke.

Heat strokes can be deadly. If help is not sought immediately, there could be brain damage or death, the American Red Cross said in a statement.

Symptoms of heat stroke include dry, red skin, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, hallucinations and aggression, the Montgomery County Public Health Department said in a press release.

People who stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and stay inside air-conditioned buildings are more likely to avoid these temporary illnesses.

“I think the important thing people should know is not to wait until they’re thirsty, but to keep drinking,” said Dana Plank, the community health educator for the Montgomery County Public Health Department and a registered nurse.

“You should set the idea in your mind if it’s hot, like it has been and going to be, to keep drinking. Finish one and start another,” she said.

Plank also worries about those on diuretics or fluid-restrictive diets who might become dehydrated in this heat. She encourages those people to get in touch with their physician and see if they can safely increase their water intake.

Officials also recommend that people stay inside where it is cool, ideally at home with air conditioning. People who don’t have air conditioning can go to a public place that is cool.

“We encourage people to go to the mall, see a movie, go to the senior center or perhaps church,” said Caroline Boardman, regional communications director for the Northeastern New York American Red Cross.

However, caution should be exercised when leaving the house to go to a public place, Plank said.

Make sure to have reliable transportation to and from the location so the vehicle doesn’t break down from the heat, Plank said. She also said never to leave anyone in a car unattended.

She said she worries about someone being left in a car that’s running with the air conditioning on, but then the car stalls. “I just say don’t leave them in the car unattended, period.”

It takes only minutes for someone to perish in a closed vehicle in extreme temperatures.

If possible, she said, stay home. There are ways to keep the house cool during the heat for those without air conditioning and without fans, which merely circulate the air.

“One old trick is to open the windows during the night, close them during the day and draw the drapes closed,” Boardman said.

The Red Cross and other agencies also encourage people to check on neighbors, friends and family, especially those who are elderly and more susceptible to the effects of the hot weather.

The only public cooling center in the region planned as of Wednesday afternoon was at the West Glens Falls Emergency Squad at 86 Luzerne Road in Queensbury. It will be open from noon to 8 p.m. for community members who don’t have air conditioning or other opportunities to escape the heat.

The doors also may be open on Friday and Saturday, depending on public use the first day, squad member Jason Miller said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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